AMON AMARTH frontman Johan Hegg has blasted UFC president Dana White for failing to ban Russian fighters from completing on upcoming cards amid the country's invasion of Ukraine.
UFC's long-awaited return to the United Kingdom this month is set to be headlined by up-and-coming British prospect Tom Aspinall and Russian heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov.
Although the Russian fighter has reportedly received the necessary documents to compete in the U.K., the status of his bout against Aspinall remains unknown.
On Monday (March 7),Hegg took to his Twitter to write: "As long as @ufc allows Russian fighters to compete and make money, while children die in Ukraine, @ufc will not get my money. I have now cancelled my fight pass. Athletes represent their country and regime. Allowing Russian fighters to compete is to support Putin."
AMON AMARTH's music video for the song "Mjölner, Hammer Of Thor" featured ex-UFC champion Josh Barnett as The Berseker and former fighter Shanie Rusth as Shield Maiden. Also featured were WWE wrestlers Erick Rowan as Thor and Viktor as Demon Henchman.
In a 2019 interview with MMAWeekly.com, Hegg stated about how he got into combat sports: "Actually it was my wife, Maria, who introduced me to combat sports. She's done some boxing in the past and is currently a yoga teacher and has developed a special kind of yoga for athletes. Currently she's working with a couple of MMA fighters, Örebro Hockey, the local Swedish Hockey League team in our hometown, and a couple of other hockey players in Sweden. A few years back, my wife and I were in New York when I was promoting our previous album, 'Jomsviking', and there we met Josh and his girlfriend at the time, Colleen [Schneider], at a dinner. The day after, we met up with them at a gym, and they tried yoga with my wife, and in exchange they offered to train MMA with us the next time we were in L.A. So next time we were there we met up with them and trained, and I had a blast.
"I've played hockey and soccer, but honestly this is perhaps the most fun I've had training. I was never really into fighting or martial arts before. I mean, I had seen MMA fights and all, but I honestly wasn't that interested, but training with Josh changed all that, and I've been training ever since. Now I follow both UFC and Bellator, as well as watch other organizations like Cage Warriors, if there is an interesting fight."
Less than a week ago, Hegg denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has called for peace to be restored in Europe. The 48-year-old Swedish death metal musician took to his Twitter to write: "My lyrics are often about glorious battles & brave warriors, but they're just stories, sometimes based on history. That doesn't mean I condone war as a matter of solving conflicts. War is never a solution to any dispute. It can only generate more animosity & hate between people.
"Right now Putin has invaded the Ukraine, a democratic, sovereign state, and though this is far from the only weaponised conflict in the world, it has affected me deeply. I thought we as Europeans were passed this, especially considering our troubled past.
"My hope is that Putin will end this attack on Ukraine, & that peace will be restored in Europe. My fear is that even if this happens, it will take a very long time for trust to return between Russia & the rest of the world. I stand with Ukraine & all Russians who oppose this war."
On February 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Putin made the announcement during a televised early morning speech, peddling accusations of Nazi elements within Ukraine to justify the attack on his western neighbor, a move that experts slammed as slanderous and false. (Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost three family members in the Holocaust.)
The Russian leader called for Ukraine's "demilitarization and denazification" and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to "consequences they have never seen."