Moscow-based MMA legend gives up US citizenship – media

Jeff Monson became a Russian citizen in 2018 and was elected to political office in Moscow Region

American-born mixed martial arts star Jeff Monson plans to renounce his US citizenship due to his disagreement with Washington’s foreign policy, he told TASS on Thursday.  

I disagree with US policies because they interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and people suffer because of this,” said the legendary fighter, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2018.  

Yes, I have children living in the United States, but I love Russia, I love the Russian people,” he told the state news outlet, adding, “I like everything here and I want to be the holder of a Russian passport only.” 

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Monson has defended Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Donbass. © Kirill Kallinikov
Ex-UFC star discusses plans for Donbass film (VIDEO)

Only months after becoming a Russian citizen, Monson was elected as a deputy to the Council of Deputies of the Krasnogorsk district in Moscow Region. He remains a legislator for the region. 

Nicknamed ‘the Snowman’, Monson has won 61 of his 90 fights. He is a former challenger for the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title and a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship winner. In addition to MMA, he is also a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion.  

An enthusiast of Russian and Soviet culture who has said he has a “Russian soul,” Monson was granted honorary citizenship of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia in 2016 and received a passport in 2017 to what was then the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic. He recently filmed and edited a documentary about “the people of Donbass” and in September revealed he planned to open sports schools in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Olympics chief responds to Ukraine’s boycott calls

Kiev’s demands go against the “principles we stand for,” Thomas Bach says

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has criticized Ukraine’s calls to boycott the Paris 2024 Games if Russian athletes are allowed to take part. The role of the Olympics is to unify, not escalate and contribute to confrontation, he said.

“It’s not up to governments to decide who can take part in which sports competitions because this would be the end of international sport competitions… as we know it,” Bach told journalists on Sunday.

In late January, the IOC said it may allow athletes from Russia and Belarus who do not publicly support Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics under a neutral flag.

The announcement angered Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who called on countries to boycott the Games if this happens. Speaking on Friday, Zelensky said the presence of Russian athletes would be a “manifestation of violence” that “cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag.”

In comments cited by France 24, Bach stated that “history will show who is doing more for peace, the ones who try to keep lines open and communicate or the ones who want to isolate and divide.”

Our role is bringing people together.

Ukraine’s calls for a boycott of the Summer Olympics go against the “principles we stand for,” he said.

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FILE PHOTO. Thomas Bach speaks during the John Coates Celebration Dinner at Sofitel Hotel in Sydney, Australia.
IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Bach added that these calls are premature, saying: “we are talking about the sporting competitions to take place this year. There is no talk about Paris yet, this will come much later.” 

In deciding the fate of Russian and Belarusian athletes, the IOC must address the “serious concerns” of the UN Human Rights Council that banning them “only because of their passports is a violation of their rights,” he explained.

“We have seen a Belarusian player under neutral status winning the Australian Open. So why shouldn’t it be possible in a swimming pool for instance, or in gymnastics?” the IOC chief said. He was referring to the success of tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne last month.

Bach added, however, that Ukrainian athletes should “know how much we share their grief, their human suffering and all the effort we’re taking to help them” as a result of the conflict.

Olympics chief responds to Ukraine’s boycott calls

Kiev’s demands go against the “principles we stand for,” Thomas Bach says

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has criticized Ukraine’s calls to boycott the Paris 2024 Games if Russian athletes are allowed to take part. The role of the Olympics is to unify, not escalate and contribute to confrontation, he said.

“It’s not up to governments to decide who can take part in which sports competitions because this would be the end of international sport competitions… as we know it,” Bach told journalists on Sunday.

In late January, the IOC said it may allow athletes from Russia and Belarus who do not publicly support Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics under a neutral flag.

The announcement angered Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who called on countries to boycott the Games if this happens. Speaking on Friday, Zelensky said the presence of Russian athletes would be a “manifestation of violence” that “cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag.”

In comments cited by France 24, Bach stated that “history will show who is doing more for peace, the ones who try to keep lines open and communicate or the ones who want to isolate and divide.”

Our role is bringing people together.

Ukraine’s calls for a boycott of the Summer Olympics go against the “principles we stand for,” he said.

Read more

FILE PHOTO. Thomas Bach speaks during the John Coates Celebration Dinner at Sofitel Hotel in Sydney, Australia.
IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Bach added that these calls are premature, saying: “we are talking about the sporting competitions to take place this year. There is no talk about Paris yet, this will come much later.” 

In deciding the fate of Russian and Belarusian athletes, the IOC must address the “serious concerns” of the UN Human Rights Council that banning them “only because of their passports is a violation of their rights,” he explained.

“We have seen a Belarusian player under neutral status winning the Australian Open. So why shouldn’t it be possible in a swimming pool for instance, or in gymnastics?” the IOC chief said. He was referring to the success of tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne last month.

Bach added, however, that Ukrainian athletes should “know how much we share their grief, their human suffering and all the effort we’re taking to help them” as a result of the conflict.

Russian star dethrones UFC pound-for-pound king

Islam Makhachev retained his world title in a hard-fought battle in Australia

Russian champion Islam Makhachev defended his UFC lightweight title early on Sunday in an intense, five-round battle against hometown favorite Alex Volkanovski in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 headliner.

Makhachev, the fearsome Dagestani grappler, entered the cage as the reigning 155lb champion, but faced a stern challenge from the Australian, who was moving up from the featherweight (145lb) division he has dominated in a bid to become the UFC’s latest two-division titleholder.

But after a back-and-forth contest which saw both men tested on their feet and on the ground, it was Makhachev’s persistent aggression and suffocating grappling which proved enough to earn a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.

Thank you Alex. It was a very good fight,” said Makhachev after what will likely be considered by far the toughest bout of his recent career. “I need some tough fights. I have to improve. I [thought] he’s going to be easy on the ground but this guy improved a lot.

The victory will almost certainly see Makhachev succeed Volkanovski at the summit of the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings to determine the world’s best fighter across all weight classes when the latest list is issued on Monday. It was the first time in the UFC’s 30-year history that the fight league’s top two ranked pound-for-pound fighters fought in the Octagon.

I show why I’m number one,” Makhchev added in his post-fight interview. “They have to improve more. You like or you don’t like but I am the best fighter in the world right now.”

Volkanovski, who was fighting in front of a fiercely partisan crowd Down Under, added his congratulations to Makhachev afterwards.

Obviously a lot of people are going to be happy with that because they never gave me a chance,” said the Aussie, who had Makhachev in trouble on several occasions in the five-round fight. “I knew I prepared properly, it was a fun fight. Congrats to Islam.”

Makhachev, who has now won 12 straight fights, stands alone at the top of the UFC lightweight division. His victory ensures continued Dagestani dominance in the organization’s lightweight fold – just like the man he succeeded at the top of the division, his close friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Russian star dethrones UFC pound-for-pound king

Islam Makhachev retained his world title in a hard-fought battle in Australia

Russian champion Islam Makhachev defended his UFC lightweight title early on Sunday in an intense, five-round battle against hometown favorite Alex Volkanovski in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 headliner.

Makhachev, the fearsome Dagestani grappler, entered the cage as the reigning 155lb champion, but faced a stern challenge from the Australian, who was moving up from the featherweight (145lb) division he has dominated in a bid to become the UFC’s latest two-division titleholder.

But after a back-and-forth contest which saw both men tested on their feet and on the ground, it was Makhachev’s persistent aggression and suffocating grappling which proved enough to earn a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.

Thank you Alex. It was a very good fight,” said Makhachev after what will likely be considered by far the toughest bout of his recent career. “I need some tough fights. I have to improve. I [thought] he’s going to be easy on the ground but this guy improved a lot.

The victory will almost certainly see Makhachev succeed Volkanovski at the summit of the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings to determine the world’s best fighter across all weight classes when the latest list is issued on Monday. It was the first time in the UFC’s 30-year history that the fight league’s top two ranked pound-for-pound fighters fought in the Octagon.

I show why I’m number one,” Makhchev added in his post-fight interview. “They have to improve more. You like or you don’t like but I am the best fighter in the world right now.”

Volkanovski, who was fighting in front of a fiercely partisan crowd Down Under, added his congratulations to Makhachev afterwards.

Obviously a lot of people are going to be happy with that because they never gave me a chance,” said the Aussie, who had Makhachev in trouble on several occasions in the five-round fight. “I knew I prepared properly, it was a fun fight. Congrats to Islam.”

Makhachev, who has now won 12 straight fights, stands alone at the top of the UFC lightweight division. His victory ensures continued Dagestani dominance in the organization’s lightweight fold – just like the man he succeeded at the top of the division, his close friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov.

IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Pressure from Kiev for countries to boycott the Paris 2024 Games goes against the Olympic Charter, Thomas Bach reportedly said

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has reportedly urged Kiev to cease its calls for a boycott of the Paris 2024 Games. Ukraine has claimed that allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete would promote Moscow’s military operation – an allegation that the IOC has dismissed as “defamatory.”     

In a letter sent to the president of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), Vadim Guttsait, and seen by several media outlets, Bach called on the authorities in Kiev to end their threats regarding the next edition of the Summer Games, and to refrain from pressuring other countries into a boycott. 

Bach noted that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag at the 2024 Games had “not even been discussed in concrete terms yet.” He also suggested that a letter from Guttsait to other NOCs had been sent prematurely and had caused dismay among numerous IOC members. 

“Your letter at this premature stage to your fellow NOCs, to the International Federations, IOC Members and to future Olympic hosts, pressuring them in an attempt to publicly influence their decision making, has been perceived by the vast majority of them as, at the very least, extremely regrettable,” Bach is said to have written.

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FILE PHOTO. French officials hold the Olympic flag in Paris, France.
Olympic chiefs react to ‘defamation’ from Kiev

The IOC president reportedly reminded Kiev that a boycott is a violation of the Olympic Charter, which “obliges all NOCs to ‘participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes.’” 

Bach also condemned “defamatory statements” made by several Ukrainian officials who have accused the IOC of being a “promoter of war, murder and destruction.” Last month, the organization denied allegations that it took bribes from Moscow and warned that such claims would not lead to “constructive discussion.” 

In January, the IOC announced it was looking at ways to permit athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in the Paris 2024 Games under a neutral flag. Senior Ukrainian officials, including President Vladimir Zelensky, responded to the news by vowing to lobby for a boycott of the event. They have repeatedly insisted on isolating Russian and Belarusian athletes from any international sporting events.

IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Pressure from Kiev for countries to boycott the Paris 2024 Games goes against the Olympic Charter, Thomas Bach reportedly said

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has reportedly urged Kiev to cease its calls for a boycott of the Paris 2024 Games. Ukraine has claimed that allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete would promote Moscow’s military operation – an allegation that the IOC has dismissed as “defamatory.”     

In a letter sent to the president of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), Vadim Guttsait, and seen by several media outlets, Bach called on the authorities in Kiev to end their threats regarding the next edition of the Summer Games, and to refrain from pressuring other countries into a boycott. 

Bach noted that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag at the 2024 Games had “not even been discussed in concrete terms yet.” He also suggested that a letter from Guttsait to other NOCs had been sent prematurely and had caused dismay among numerous IOC members. 

“Your letter at this premature stage to your fellow NOCs, to the International Federations, IOC Members and to future Olympic hosts, pressuring them in an attempt to publicly influence their decision making, has been perceived by the vast majority of them as, at the very least, extremely regrettable,” Bach is said to have written.

Read more

FILE PHOTO. French officials hold the Olympic flag in Paris, France.
Olympic chiefs react to ‘defamation’ from Kiev

The IOC president reportedly reminded Kiev that a boycott is a violation of the Olympic Charter, which “obliges all NOCs to ‘participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes.’” 

Bach also condemned “defamatory statements” made by several Ukrainian officials who have accused the IOC of being a “promoter of war, murder and destruction.” Last month, the organization denied allegations that it took bribes from Moscow and warned that such claims would not lead to “constructive discussion.” 

In January, the IOC announced it was looking at ways to permit athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in the Paris 2024 Games under a neutral flag. Senior Ukrainian officials, including President Vladimir Zelensky, responded to the news by vowing to lobby for a boycott of the event. They have repeatedly insisted on isolating Russian and Belarusian athletes from any international sporting events.

LeBron James breaks NBA scoring record

The LA Lakers star surpassed the milestone of 38,387 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night

LeBron James officially became the NBA’s all-time record points scorer as he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the LA Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

The action at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles was paused after James scored the 38,388th point of his career with a fadeaway jump shot in the third quarter.

James moved beyond the previous record of 38,387 points set by former Lakers star Abdul-Jabbar, who was on hand to mark the occasion. Both he and NBA commissioner Adam Silver walked onto the court to congratulate the 38-year-old James.

To be able to be in the presence of such a legend as great as Kareem, it’s very humbling. Please give a standing ovation to the Captain, please,” James said as he paid tribute to Abdul-Jabbar.

James thanked his family and fans for allowing him to “be a part of something I’ve always dreamed about.

Later in a press conference, the Lakers star said he had “kind of teared up a little bit” when he scored the record-breaking shot, which comes in his 20th season in the NBA.

While it took Abdul-Jabbar 1,560 games to set his record back in April 1984, James has surpassed that milestone in 1,410 appearances.

James attracted significant media attention while still in high school, and scored his first points in the NBA at the age of 18. He has since gone on to win four NBA Championships – two with the Miami Heat, and one apiece with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers.


READ MORE: Griner prisoner swap ‘great day’ for US, says LeBron James

Speaking on his plans for the future, James expressed hope that he would be able to play alongside his 18-year-old son, Bronny, who is set to be eligible for the NBA draft in 2024.

Despite James enjoying a record-breaking night as he ended with 38 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, the Lakers went on to lose 130-133 to Oklahoma.

LeBron James breaks NBA scoring record

The LA Lakers star surpassed the milestone of 38,387 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night

LeBron James officially became the NBA’s all-time record points scorer as he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the LA Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

The action at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles was paused after James scored the 38,388th point of his career with a fadeaway jump shot in the third quarter.

James moved beyond the previous record of 38,387 points set by former Lakers star Abdul-Jabbar, who was on hand to mark the occasion. Both he and NBA commissioner Adam Silver walked onto the court to congratulate the 38-year-old James.

To be able to be in the presence of such a legend as great as Kareem, it’s very humbling. Please give a standing ovation to the Captain, please,” James said as he paid tribute to Abdul-Jabbar.

James thanked his family and fans for allowing him to “be a part of something I’ve always dreamed about.

Later in a press conference, the Lakers star said he had “kind of teared up a little bit” when he scored the record-breaking shot, which comes in his 20th season in the NBA.

While it took Abdul-Jabbar 1,560 games to set his record back in April 1984, James has surpassed that milestone in 1,410 appearances.

James attracted significant media attention while still in high school, and scored his first points in the NBA at the age of 18. He has since gone on to win four NBA Championships – two with the Miami Heat, and one apiece with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers.


READ MORE: Griner prisoner swap ‘great day’ for US, says LeBron James

Speaking on his plans for the future, James expressed hope that he would be able to play alongside his 18-year-old son, Bronny, who is set to be eligible for the NBA draft in 2024.

Despite James enjoying a record-breaking night as he ended with 38 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, the Lakers went on to lose 130-133 to Oklahoma.