Rock Hits
Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg Boycotts UFC for Allowing Russian Fighters to Compete

Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg Boycotts UFC for Allowing Russian Fighters to Compete

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, we've seen a variety of forms of protest against Russia in all walks of life. One of the latest comes from Amon Amarth vocalist Johan Hegg, who has pledged that he will not partake in watching upcoming UFC fights after they have allowed Russian fighters to continue competing in events.

"As long as @ufc allows Russian fighters to compete and make money, while children die in Ukraine, @ufc will not get my money," stated Hegg in a tweet. "I have now cancelled my fight pass. Athletes represent their country and regime. Allowing Russian fighters to compete is to support Putin."

The message comes in advance of a March 19 bout in the U.K. where British fighter Tom Aspinall will do battle with Russian heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov in the top billed fight.

Musicians have taken actions in a variety of ways. Slipknot, Bring Me the Horizon, Iron Maiden, Green Day and My Chemical Romance are among the acts that have either canceled or postponed upcoming touring in Russia and Ukraine due to the unstable situation between the two countries, each citing their solidarity with the people of Ukraine while some also acknowledged their Russian and Belarusian fans who also stand for peace while their country continues its invasion.

Just this week, Universal Music Group announced (per Variety) that it has suspended all operations in Russia as a response to the ongoing invasion. asking for "an end to violence in Ukraine as soon as possible."

And shortly after the invasion took place, officials for the Eurovision Song Contest announced that Russia would not be allowed to compete in the 2022 competition taking place between May 10-14 in Turin, Italy.

And music is not the only place where competitors from Russia and Ukraine are affected. The NBA has two players of Ukrainian heritage. Svi Mykhailiuk and Alex Len issued a joint statement condemning the invasion of their homeland, stating, “Ukraine is a peaceful, sovereign state inhabited by people who want to decide their own destiny. We pray for our families, friends, relatives and all people who are in the territory of Ukraine. We hope for an end to this terrible war as soon as possible. Dear fellow Ukrainians, hold on! Our strength is unity! We are with you!”

The other major sport featuring athletes from either country is the NHL, which actually counts a significant number of Russian-born players currently competing in the league. The NHL issued a statement also condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, urging a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible. They also suspended their relationships with business partners in Russia and paused their Russian language social and digital media sites. Plus, they discontinued consideration of Russia as a location for any future NHL competitions.

That said, they've also expressed their support for the Russian players in their league. "We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position," stated the league.

Speaking of that difficult position, one of the most prominent stars in the NHL is the Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who had previously campaigned for Putin. When asked for his thoughts on the invasion, he initially stated on Feb. 25, a day after the invasion started, "Please, no more war. It doesn't matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — we have to live in peace."

When asked if he supported Russia in the invasion, he responded, "I'm Russian, right? It's not something I can control. It's not in my hands. I hope it's going to end soon and there's going to be peace in both countries. I don't control this one."

The hockey star later commented that the invasion had been "a hard situation" for him, adding, "I have lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine, and it's hard to see the war. I hope soon it's going to be over and there's going to be peace in the whole world."

While many have found ways to protest, there are also others who have thrown their energies into aiding Ukraine while the invasion continues. See some of the acts who are helping through financial and humanitarian efforts here.

Rock + Metal Bands Helping Provide Support for Ukraine

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022, several rock and metal bands came up with ways to offer tangible support for affected Ukrainians. See some below.