Title belts have been a fixture of many powerful moments in history, but those usually occur inside the cage.
As a result of the war with Russia in Ukraine, Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov is in the midst of an unusual position – and he brought his title belt with him.
Amosov (26-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) was scheduled to put his strap on the line May 13 against Michael Page (20-1 MMA, 16-1 BMMA) at Bellator 281 in London. However, when the choice was laid out to defend his title or defend his homeland, Amosov chose the latter option. After he evacuated his family to a safe zone, Amosov returned to Ukraine to fight against the Russian invasion.
Friday, Amosov and Bellator shared a video and image of him on the ground in Ukraine, wearing his military gear from head to toe. The Bellator welterweight title was present with him. Amosov, crawling out of an underground dweling in one video, opens a bag to reveal his prize inside. A follow-up image showed Amosov and other military troops posing with the title.
Because of his commitment to Ukraine, Amosov withdrew from his in-cage battle against Page. An interim belt will be implemented in the welterweight division. With the war ongoing, there is no timeline for his return.
“I love this country, our own,” Amosov said in February, when he announced he’d be defending his country. “Russia came to our house and started a war here, many people are dying – innocents, women, and children. We have to defend this country, and we succeed, friends. And we will succeed, because the truth is behind us.
“I would like to address those who subscribed to me from Russia. What is shown to you on TV, you may not watch – this is not true. If I were you, I wouldn’t even watch your news. We are in a real war. I cannot understand those people who do not believe that Russian troops entered Ukraine. I see it with my own eyes, I hear it. Terrible things are happening here. We can do this.”