— Published 10 October 2023

The Russians remain on the doorstep

Not all doors are open to Russian athletes. Unlike the vast majority of international bodies in the Olympic movement, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has decided to maintain its exclusion of fighters carrying a Russian passport. It is therefore not following the recommendation of the IOC Executive Board. Hardly a surprise from an organisation that is still not recognised by the IOC. The TASS agency explains, quoting a source within the IMMAF, that there are no plans to reinstate Russian athletes in 2023. According to Vadim Finkelstein, the honorary president of the IMMAF, there would be no objection to Russian athletes returning to the body, but “the IMMAF wants to be recognised by the IOC and fears that this would complicate matters“. Conversely, the organisation in charge of professional MMA, the UFC, announced at the end of last week that Russians would now be able to compete under their own flag. The UFC had banned them in the spring of 2022, shortly after the start of the conflict in Ukraine.