Enlarge Johan Hegg by Achim Raschka, via Wikipedia.

Amon Amarth Frontman Explains His UFC Boycott: “The World Has to Put Enough Pressure on Putin That He Will End This War”


Yesterday, we reported on Amon Amarth frontman Johan Hegg boycotting the UFC over their failure to keep Russian fighters from competing. Now, Hegg has explained his position in a lengthy statement via his Twitter, that you can read below.

The long and short of Hegg’s statement is that this war is unprecedented in our lifetime, that athletes have influence, and that given how many countries and companies are putting sanctions on Russia, UFC should do the same via the nation’s athletes. He makes it clear that he’s not trying to change anyone’s mind, but that given the extremity of this conflict, people need to take a side.

You can read the full statement below:

“I feel I have to clarify my point of view.

“I love watching @ufc , and I have nothing but respect for the skill and dedication of the athletes competing in the octagon.

“What is happening right now in Ukraine is a tragedy. It’s the biggest war we’ve seen in Europe since WWII.

“Two weeks ago Putin made an unprovoked attack on Ukraine. A democratic, sovereign nation. In doing so he caused the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history. 1.5 million people has fled the war so far.

“Putin’s armies are committing war crimes such as shelling residential areas, hospitals and even firing on civilians trying to flee. So far over 30 children have been killed in this war. More than 70 wounded.

“Putin has repeatedly broken cease fire agreements, basically luring people out of their shelters only to hit them with artillery.

“Am I angry and frustrated? Yes.

“This war doesn’t only threaten and affect Ukraine. Putin has threatened to invade Finland and Sweden. He threatens the whole of Europe. Ukraine will not be able to export wheat and other crops during the invasion, which will have consequences for Middle Eastern and African nations that depend heavily on the Black Sea region for food. World Food Programme (WFP) executive director David Beasley has warned that the ‘world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.’ Putin has threatened the world, including the US with Nuclear weapons.

“Is it fair to target Russian fighters/athletes with sanctions? I think it is. It’s not that I want to hurt them personally, but there is no middle ground here. Athletes have influence. If they don’t want to speak up against this war, then why should they escape sanctions when people actually protesting the war in Russia, at the risk of being imprisoned or worse, do not?

“You don’t have to agree with me, I don’t expect everyone to do so, but in my opinion the world has to put enough pressure on Putin and his regime that he will end this war.”

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