UFC found itself in a problematic situation earlier this year due to Russian invasion of Ukraine. UFC still employs a large number of Russian prospects in practically every division.
Ahead of Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling clash at UFC 273, UFC quietly instituted a new ban – on athletes carrying flags in the cage.
Petr Yan confirmed the flag ban went into effect prior to UFC 273 – due to the fact he uses the flag in his walk outs.
“Before our tournament it already wasn’t allowed to go out with flags,” said Yan, according to Match TV.
“Although no one said they forbid it. If you remember the previous tournaments, there were situations when people in the crowd whistled.”
“We did it so as not to provoke people or the public. Everyone knows where I’m from. We just avoided a provocative moment.”
Afterwards Chito Vera and Dana White himself confirmed the ban.
But lately – the athletes have been skirting this rule. Just last week Fiziev celebrated his victory with the flag of Azerbaijan.
Following his impressive KO, Jingliang climbed the cage and pointed at a fan with the Chinese flag at this point the fan approached him and gave him the flag. He seemed visibly emotional coming off of a previous loss to Khamzat Chimaev.
But now UFC is ready to enforce the flag ban. Last night during the UFC on ABC 3 the following footage was taken from the crowd.
You can spot the Sanda specialist Li Jingliang celebrating with the distinct flag of China, until an official swoops in and snatches it from him.