Several MMA fighters and coaches have been stuck in Russia amidst the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including former Brave CF champion Luan Santiago.
Santiago competed on an RCC card against Ilyas Khamzin in Yekaterinburg, which is the fourth most populated city in Russia. Santiago lost the fight via split decision, but that would only be the beginning of his issues.
Santiago and his longtime coach, Cristiano Marcello are now stuck in Yekaterinburg amidst the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Sochi airport has been closed for several days, leading many such as Marcello and Santiago stuck in the city indefinitely.
Santiago and Marcello were supposed to depart for their native Brazil on Thursday evening local time in Yekaterinburg before local airports were closed.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Marcello explained his and Santiago’s situation.
Luan Santiago Among Those Stuck In Russia
“I asked [RCC] officials if the war was going to spread [into the country] and if we should be worried, and they said they live in war tension, that it’s normal for them,” Marcello said. “I asked the receptionist at the hotel if there was a risk of airports shutting down, and she said the Sochi airport was already closed.”
Santiago and Marcello aren’t the only ones who are grounded in Russia. Former The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil participants Jose Marcos and Marcio Santos are also stuck near the Russia-Ukraine border after fighting on separate cards.
Former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado was competing on a bare-knuckle boxing card but was able to fly out of Moscow and fly back to Brazil just before the closure of airports.
We’ll bring you the latest right here at LowKickMMA as the situation in Ukraine develops, potentially stranding many MMA fighters overseas.
What are your thoughts on the Russia/Ukraine conflict?