An Olympic tournament without Russia is nothing more than an "ordinary tournament," according to UFC heavyweight Bilyal Makhov.
The Dagestan native and member of the proposed Russian freestyle wrestling team at this year's Olympics is referencing the World Anti-Doping Agency's suggested ban on all Russian athletes from Olympic competition following a report revealed state-level corruption in the doping control process.
According to WADA, the Russian government tampered with the doping results of their athletes during the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Key members from Russia's anti-doping agency and even the Ministry of Sport were allegedly involved in the cover-up attempt.
"The Report also indicates the involvement of the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA); and, shows that some of the key people involved, in particular the deputy sports minister, were members of the Russian Olympic Committee. Furthermore, the Investigation reveals that State oversight and directed control of the Moscow laboratory in processing and covering up urine samples of Russian athletes was applied to all sport disciplines whose urine samples were being analyzed by the Moscow laboratory." said WADA's President Sir Craig Reedie in a statement.
While Makhov vehemently supports clean sports, he believes WADA's suggested country-wide ban is part of a political witch hunt against Russia. He urged the Olympic Committee to remember that sports are supposed to be apolitical.
"These are events that have to be apolitical and should unite all countries in a common cause - the sport," Makhov told Tass.ru.
Makhov concluded that Russia's involvement in the 2016 Olympic Games (over 400 athletes) ensures that those who medal in the tournaments have beaten the best opposition available on an international scale.
"[The ban] will not only impact Russian athletes but also the entire international sports community."