Anastasia Yankova has denied any affiliation to White Rex after reports surfaced connecting the Bellator star to the neo-Nazi combat sports apparel brand.
Speaking to RT, Yankova stated that she is not affiliated to the White Rex brand, despite reports showing her promoting their clothing in a photoshoot.
“I want to stress that I am not affiliated to any Nazi groups,” Yankova told RT’s Denis Geyko. “Nor do I share or have I ever shared Nazi ideology.”
Founded in 2008, White Rex is a Russian clothing brand that appeals to fans of combat sports. The company produces shirts, hoodies, pants, sports gear, and other items branded with fascist and neo-Nazi symbols. Occasionally, the symbols are disguised, but not always; indeed, they have produced t-shirts that clearly show the black sun and swastika amalgamated into a single symbol. Some of the White Rex shirts openly state slogans such as “Zero Tolerance,” “Angry Europeans,” and “White Rex Against Tolerance.” Others, including women’s wear, sport symbols such as “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler.”
According to their official website, White Rex began organizing mixed martial arts events in 2011 under the name “Warrior Spirit.” The first event, an all-amateur tournament, was held on June 18, 2011 in Voronezh. The promotion transitioned to professional events by late 2013 and slowly began to gain notoriety within the MMA industry. Over the next couple of years, White Rex featured notable Russian fighters like Bellator’s Anistasia Yankova, ACB’s Sergey Khandozhko and M-1 staples Sergey Romanov, Vladimir Nikitin, Andrey Seledtsov, and Valery Myasnikov.
In Yankova’s case, she was among the fighters featured on White Rex’s Birth of a Nation event, where she made her professional debut with a submission victory against Eleonora Tassinari.
However, despite fighting on one of White Rex’s MMA events and promoting the apparel brand on several occasions, Yankova insists that she is not affiliated to the controversial group and that she has never shared their ideology.
“In 2013, I was invited to take a part in my first professional MMA tournament, which I knew would be broadcast on TV, and include a number of well-known sports figures,” said Yankova. “That was a chance to start my career and back then I saw no reason to turn down such an opportunity. I received my promised pay and was invited to take a part in photo and video shoots to promote a clothing brand.
“That was a start any young girl taking her first steps in this sport could only dream of. Especially considering the lack of opportunity to do that in Russia back in those days.”