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UFC returns to Russian screens with fresh Match TV deal

Russian sports media platform Match TV has regained rights to mixed martial arts promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The contract will take effect from the UFC 209 event, which takes place in the US city of Las Vegas on March 4 and features an interim title fight between Russian lightweight star Khabib Nurmagomedov (pictured) and Tony Ferguson. The agreement will cover UFC events for the remainder of 2017.

The deal comes after it was revealed last month that the UFC would use the Telesport agency to sell its rights in Russia after Match TV failed to agree terms on a renewal. Match TV’s deal with the UFC was worth $500,000 (€471,000) for 2016 only, a 25 per cent increase on the $400,000 the promotion earned from Match in its previous one-year deal in 2015.

Match TV has agreed the new deal with Telesport, with general producer Tina Kandelaki admitting that it had been a “difficult” negotiation process.