Russian MMA fighter Yana Kunitskaya told Metaratings in an interview that she plans to apply for US citizenship and what she thinks should do in a situation where Russian athletes are deprived of the opportunity to compete in the international arena.
“This is a very embarrassing situation. I don’t want to look at it from a political standpoint, but people train all their lives and then they can’t compete. I don’t know what I would do in their place. Fortunately, this does not affect the UFC, except that it is difficult for someone to open a visa,” Kunitskaya says.
– I do not condemn those who want to take another citizenship because they are forbidden to practice. You have been playing your favorite sport since childhood and you are moving towards your goal, but here it is not clear how long it will all take.
My decision to get a second citizenship is not about anything like that. I would agree, though, because we live here, the child is already an American citizen, so we need him.”
In any case, the procedure for changing citizenship with Kunitskaya herself will not occur now, and even in the near future. Will apply only after 3.5 years.
Yana had her last fight in the professional arena a little over a year ago – losing by technical knockout to Mexican Irene Aldana at the end of the first round at UFC 264 on July 11, 2021.
Since then, Kunitskaya managed to get pregnant and give birth to a daughter, Alice, and is now preparing for her return to the octagon.
“Everything is fine. I trained throughout my pregnancy, so it was easy to come back to. Our gym is three minutes’ drive from home, so there have been no issues so far,” she said.
– Training is serious, but it is not always possible to do everything you want. Let’s say I do less wrestling and more hitting techniques now. Thiago will fight in two weeks and is now busy with his preparations. Alice does not always sit in the stroller, sometimes she cries, so she has to adapt. Of course everything needs to be better organized in the future.”
Thiago Santos, Kunitskaya’s husband and trainer, is an MMA fighter himself, and will fight junior contender Jamal Hill at UFC Fight Night on the evening’s main event on August 7.
Due to the 32-year-old Kunitskaya, she won 14 defeats, six defeats and one annulment after the appeal of the losing opponent, who lost by referee decision in the octagon. In the main promotion of the world, the Russian woman played seven fights, won four and lost three.
It was his first appearance in the UFC when he lost to Cris Cyborg in a title fight on March 3, 2018. Kunitskaya has since returned to the minor welterweight division, but has yet to qualify for the title.
Kunitskaya returned to sports after the birth of her son, but it was three years after her retirement was announced. Now he believes he is much more ready to enter the octagon.
Interestingly, the daughter of Kunitskaya and Thiago Santos will automatically become a US citizen, as the couple lived in this country, and Alice herself was born.
“At first we went to America on a visa, and this year we got a green card. Tiago and I will only be able to apply for citizenship after three and a half years. Alice automatically became a US citizen, she has no other citizenship,” said Kunitskaya.
At the same time, the fighter emphasized that he will continue to perform under the Russian flag, since there is no ban on its use in the UFC:
“Sure. I know the PFL and Bellator have lifted the Russian flags, but that’s not the case with the UFC. If the rules don’t change, I’ll stay with the Russian flag.”
Recall earlier, the 12th racket of the world, tennis player Daria Kasatkina, in a sensational interview with video blogger and journalist Viktor Kravchenko, in fact, advised young Russian athletes to change their sports citizenship in order to play in major tournaments.