Polish MMA promotion previously hyped an odd pair. They were to feature a match between two men who look a lot like political arch enemies, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin has gained many haters around the world. Some famous figures such as Tesla founder Elon Musk and celebrity boxer Jake Paul have challenged the Russian president to a duel in the fall out from the invasion.
Of course, those confrontations were just a mere clout chase not unlike this one. Seeing this trend, Polish MMA promotion Royal Division decided to set up a strange match between Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky impersonators. The promotion’s socials were immediately flooded with tons of fans who weren’t appreciative of the clash.
The promotion even had the the two play pretended to be politicians and had an interesting staredown. The impersonators arrived to the studio accompanied by bodyguards.
This announcement caused quite a stir. Many people believe the promotion has crossed the line by making fun of an ongoing situation that is bound to affect many lives.
“This is pathetic behavior to the situation that is taking place in the world now where people, including innocent children, are dying. Anyone with some dignity should give up participation in this federation.” One fan wrote.
Other spectators poked fun at the event and are of the belief that this shouldn’t offend anyone.
“So what if they have Putin vs Zelensky, after all, it is only fun, and it goes to the benefit of Ukraine.” Another fan wrote.
Organizers have since released a statement apologizing for the backlash:
“I am sorry that our initiative has caused so much emotion. I would like to take you backstage on our activities, so that you know what motivates us and how we want to help Ukraine. I understand your concern about this issue, but I believe that this initiative will result in a lot of good, and there will be no real fight of doubles!”
Actor Antoni Krolikowski claims the two were never scheduled to fight and that he was simply trying to raise awareness for his fundraising efforts.
“The meeting that was to take place between Umit (a refugee from the east, a look-alike of the president of Ukraine) and Sławek from Poland (a look-alike of the disgraced president of Russia ) was never supposed to have anything to do with a fight,” he continued.
“I emphasise because this is probably not the case here. A symbolic action is planned. I am an actor, filmmaker, not professionally involved in sports, but when I learned about the stories of this extraordinary friendship between two doubles, I knew that the world must hear about it. I think it worked, although the level of hatred directed at us surprised us a lot.”
“Like many artists from around the world, I also wanted to support my Eastern friends,” he concluded. “Making the best of the opportunities I have.”
“I am very sorry that the project was so assessed and aroused so many difficult emotions, and the emerging hate makes this artistic message difficult for us. Nevertheless, I want to express it and achieve the goal of helping Ukrainian citizens. Therefore, we are accelerating our initiative. You will be able to see it this Saturday during the second conference.”