Barys’ Damir Ryspayev sucker-punched Tomas Marcinko of Kunlun, concussing the forward, during a wild August 2016 brawl against Kunlun Red Star. That wasn’t enough for Ryspayev, who then proceeded to go after other Kunlun players before challenging their bench to fight.
Kunlun would end up abandoning the game and Ryspayev was eventually suspended after he “systematically and grotesquely violated” the league’s rules, according to Gennady Timchenko, representative of the KHL’s Council of Directors. “We are constantly working to attract a new audience and broaden the game’s geographical reach and Ryspaev’s behavior is not merely harmful in a sporting context, it also blackens the image of the league,” said KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko at the time.
As he was away from the KHL, Ryspayev played in Kazakhstan and the Russian VHL, awaiting a decision on his latest appeal. He also received an invite from an MMA promoter tried to to participate on a fight card last spring but ultimately wasn’t interested.
Sixteen months later, Ryspayev is free to play again after a players’ union submission convinced the KHL Disciplinary Committee to lift the suspension. He will do so back with Barys, who signed the 22-year-old to a one-year, two-way contract.