The UFC has been thinking about expanding into Russia for quite some time now, but according to a report by Bloody Elbow, they may have hit a snag with their TV rights. This past Thursday (1/19), Match TV out of Russia announced that they may not be broadcasting UFC events any longer due to a stalemate with ongoing negotiations.
"UFC, the primary owner of media rights, decided to transfer the license to broadcast in the Russian Federation in 2017 to the local agent of the Russian intermediary. Unfortunately, the value of these rights for those who would like to show the full scale data broadcast by Russian television viewers, increased by multiples in comparison with the same period last year. Match TV understands the interest of the audience to watch UFC event and is doing everything possible within the framework of the negotiation process. In the case of an agreement that suits all parties in terms of the financial and commercial conditions, "Match TV" will immediately inform the fans and viewers to the updated schedule of broadcasts,” the press release states.
If no resolution is found in future negotiations, UFC fans in Russia will not be able to legally view UFC pay-per-view events, starting with UFC 208 in February.
Khabib Nuramgomedov, arguably the biggest star out of Russia outside of the legendary Fedor Emelianeko, is fighting Tony Ferguson for the UFC Interim Lightweight Title this March at UFC 209.