MMA Becomes First Sport to Resume Championships in Ukraine

Sport has returned to Ukraine despite the continuing conflict. The first sport to get permission from the Ukrainian sports ministry to stage national championships once again was mixed martial arts (MMA).

In late July, the MMA League of Ukraine held a two-day competition. The amateur MMA competition was held to determine which team would have the opportunity to compete in the 2022 European and World Championships on behalf of Ukraine.

The national squad that will represent Ukraine in the 2022 European and World Championships was chosen at the two-day competition, which was held in Mukachevo. In the days before the event, there were two lectures conducted. On July 21, Alexander Lunga oversaw a session on judgment. On July 22, Roman Reznikov oversaw a presentation on cutmen.

The championships included junior (18–20) and senior (21+) divisions. The match was broadcast live and is now available to watch on the federation’s YouTube site.

Ivan Pasych, a 2021 world silver medalist, competed in the junior bantamweight class and won gold. Ivan Kurelaru, the champion of the 2021 world cup, cemented his position as the best lightweight by defeating Dmytro Kovalchuk in the final.

The Skuba sisters each won their individual national titles in the women’s categories. While Ioanna beat Anastasia Koida to win the junior strawweight title, Marianna won the senior featherweight title.

Three athletes—Kryvanych Yaroslav, Kovalenko Oleksandr, and Gorodnyuk Oleksandr—were given performance bonuses totaling 20,000 Ukrainian Hryvnia at the conclusion of the competition. At the tournament, twenty-one national champions were declared overall.

President Anton Blank gave an explanation of the history of the national championships after they had concluded. He stated:

“At the end of June, the Ministry of sports gave permission for the national federations to organise national championships. We decided to be first. And the only time for our tournament was July.”

“Because in August we have the Youth World Championships and in September, the European Championships. So, we didn’t have much time to prepare. We decided to organize it in Transkarpatia, in the city of Mukachevo, as this region is the closest to the European border. The head of the regional federation, Alexander Shavrov immediately agreed and did everything for this championship to happen.”

He continued by outlining the significance of the day for Ukrainians.

“It was not just a National Championship, it was a real holiday. A lot of soldiers came from the war to take part in the tournament. We think that organizing tournaments and the development of sport is very important.”

“Because people of Ukraine, their children and athletes need to see not only war but some hope that there is and will be other life.”

The young squad is presently being prepared by the MMA League of Ukraine for the 2022 Youth World Championships. They won the medal last year with fifty-two medals won. Before preparing for the European Championships the following month, they aim to have a similar level of success in Abu Dhabi.