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Bellator lands rights deal with Russia’s Okko Sport

The Bellator mixed martial arts promotion has signed a rights deal in Russia with OTT streaming platform Okko Sport.

The three-year agreement begins on January 1, 2021 and grants Okko Sport rights to all Bellator live events, including preliminary bouts.

Okko Sport is owned by Rambler Media Group, which holds rights to football’s English Premier League, Major League Soccer and Concacaf qualifiers for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Bellator is owned by US media company ViacomCBS and typically holds over 30 events around the world each year. Russian fighter Vadim Nemkov last month became the promotion’s’ new light heavyweight world champion with victory over Ryan Bader at Bellator 244.

Mikhail Gershkovich, head of sports projects at Rambler Media Group, said more details on how Okko Sport will present its Bellator coverage will be revealed in due course.

Scott Coker, president of Bellator, said: “Russia has played an integral part in the history of combat sports throughout the years and has also proven to be a very important market for the international growth of Bellator.

“When you look at the where the sport is today, our roster is filled with notable Russian fighters, including legend Fedor Emelianenko, current light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov, former champ Vitaly Minakov and numerous young prospects.”

The Professional Fighters League mixed martial arts promotion recently agreed a multi-year rights deal with the Russian agency Telesport. That agreement is set to begin in 2021, as the 2020 season of the PFL has been postponed in its entirety due to the Covid-19 pandemic.