UFC has never been one to put tape on their athletes’ mouths, especially when it comes to political views. President Dana White has gone on record several times to double down on this claim. Using this very opportunity, the number 3 bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili has come out with certain eye-raising statements, exposing his mindset going into UFC Vegas 71.
In the May of 2022, UFC made huge controversy when uncle Dana declared they won’t be allowing UFC fighters to walk out to their bouts or inside the Octagon with their country’s flag. The move didn’t come as much of a surprise as tensions mounted more at the time amongst war-involved countries Russia and Ukraine.
When asked about this decision, White said, “You guys know why, Let’s not even play that f**king game.”
‘The Machine’, who is scheduled to headline the upcoming Fight Night at The Theatre in Las Vegas, had a lot of not-so-nice things to say about his opponent Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan and his homeland of Russia. During the media day, when asked by a reporter why this fight, in particular, is more important for him, to which Dvalishvili said without hesitation –
“I have many reasons. First of all, this fight is not only [a] fight, this is personal for me. He’s from Russia, I [am] from Georgia. and we all know [what] Russia, what they do in Ukraine right now, what they did to Georgia. Russia is not a democratic country. and I want to win for my people. I have so many support from my country and Ukraine too.”
He then continued his rant calmly, “But, Petr is a great fighter, he’s a former champion. He’s tough, as a fighter he’s a great fighter. He’s a good family guy. But, he’s not [a] humble guy. He’s not a great human. [It] doesn’t matter how good [of a] fighter you are, you have to be [a] good person.”
Dvalishvili was born in Tbilisi, a city that happens to be the capital of the country of Georgia. While his sentiments are understandable, his opponent Petr didn’t make much of them. When asked to respond to Merab’s political mindset, Yan responded with –
“I think he doesn’t have any other way to bring attention to himself, you know, he cannot do it with his fights. All he [does] like a dog you know, takes the leg and pushes the opponent to the cage. So he’s just trying to take some attention with something else. No one is interested in him.”
Fans upset at the political comments of Merab Dvalishvili
Merab had a rough start to his UFC career when he suffered two consecutive decisions. But, the man had a resurgence that helped him to win his next eight bouts. ‘The Machine’ went on a tear and now has victories over the likes of Marlon Moraes, Cody Stamann, and more recently, the featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo.
i mean as much as i agree with the idea it’s not like yan is supportive of it or out there doing genocide himself
— Ben🔜🌕 (@butze_) March 9, 2023
Shouldn’t be judged by where you come from
— Amac (@AMmac1010) March 9, 2023
what does yan have to do with russia going to war with ukraine? what lmaoooo
— Jorden (@The_Jshot) March 9, 2023
Lost respect for merab on this one, that whole war doesn’t have a single thing to do with Petr
— Dave Mathews (@stankballs0) March 9, 2023
Just when the bantamweight division couldn’t get any more stacked, former king Henry Cejudo’s reported comeback for the gold strap makes it all the more interesting. Does Yan get back to his winning ways this weekend? or does Merab Dvalishvili drop Yan’s stock down to the ground with his wrestling expertise? Let us know your official prediction in the comments down below.