An MMA fighter died in combat defending Ukraine during the ongoing war against the Russian invasion
- MMA fighter Tomasz Walentek reportedly died while volunteering in the war effort in Ukraine.
- Walentek died in the Donbas region, TVP reports, as Ukraine defends itself against Russian invasion.
MMA fighter Tomasz Walentek died recently while volunteering as a combatant in Ukraine's ongoing war against Russia.
"It is with great sadness that we received the information about the death of Tomek, who as a Polish volunteer fought in the International Defense Legion of Ukraine and died there," Polish organization MMA Polska tweeted Saturday.
—mmapolska_org (@MMAPolska_Org) July 23, 2022
President Volodymyr Zelensky created the International Defense Legion of Ukraine earlier this year to provide foreign citizens who wished to "join the resistance against the Russian occupants" with a vehicle to do so.
"Anyone who wants to join the defence of security in Europe and the world can come and stand side by side with the Ukrainians against the invaders of the 21st century," Zelensky said at the time.
Walentek had previously achieved success while competing in amateur MMA tournaments. "He participated in and won the second MMA championships organized in Gliwice," MMA Polska said in its tweet.
According to TVP, which is a Polish free-to-air television news channel, Walentek died following artillery shelling in the Donbas region.
The fighter's MMA coach Piotr Jeleniewski posted about Walentek's death on Instagram.
"See you," Jeleniewski said.
"Rest in peace," MMA Polska said.
Numerous combat athletes have taken part in Ukraine's war effort
Walentek is one of a number of combat sport athletes who have fought against Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in late February.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, the former heavyweight world champion, is one of Ukraine's key figures. By his side is Wladimir Klitschko, a Hall of Fame boxer.
Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, who had been active in boxing as recently as last year, have also been involved in the conflict. Bellator MMA champion Yaroslav Amosov is also part of Ukraine's forces.
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