UFC banned athletes from carrying flags during walkouts

Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera recently explained that he will not be allowed to walk out with his country’s flag this Saturday, March 30th.

Marlon will be facing the 5th ranked Rob Font in the main event of the evening.

In an interview with the MMA journalist José Luiz Santacruz, Vera shared the news of the flag ban.

“No one is allowed to walk out with a flag,” Vera told the journalist. “I imagine that they did it because of what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine.”

This Saturday’s event will not feature any athletes from Russia or Ukraine. The closest will be the Belarusian Andrei Arlovski, who will be facing Jake Collier for the co-main event of the evening.

Before the war, UFC has dealt with several controversies regarding athletes not being allowed to enter with their countries’ flags.

For instance, Ramona Pascual was prohibited from entering the octagon with the Hong Kong flag for her appearance on  UFC Vegas 49. She was given the opportunity to enter the cage with the Chinese flag instead.

The UFC has a policy of only allowing “officially approved” flags. This means that any flag from a country that is not recognized as independent would not be allowed.

Before UFC 271, the Zimbabwean competitor “Blood Diamond” was denied the octagon the chance to carry the Zimbabwe flag.

That flag ban comes at an unfortunate time for Vera. Ecuador is a recognized country, and “Chito” will be the first Ecuadorian athlete to compete in a UFC main event in the history of the promotion.

“Of course, this is huge for me,” Vera explained “This is a golden opportunity for me and this is something I’m taking very seriously.”