Russia has been producing world class fighters for decades but lately numerous mixed martial arts promotions have started calling the country home for many prominent events.
At the top of the list is the UFC, which has made Russia a priority over the past two years with cards already taking place in Moscow and St. Petersburg with another show rumored to take place there later this year as well.
In anticipation of the growing market in Russia, as well as the expansion of fighters coming out of that region, Suckerpunch Entertainment has partnered with ‘Raty MMA’ to promote and bring more fighters abroad as well as sending more U.S. based athletes overseas in the coming months.
“Our goal at SuckerPunch is and has always been to take care of the best talent in MMA worldwide. To do this we have to constantly look at ways to expand our footprint and create a real infrastructure for the management of athletes in this sport,” Suckerpunch founder Brian Butler said on Tuesday. “We have been vetting potential partners for some time now and we are excited to formally partner with Raty Team in Russia.”
Butler and his team already work with an international roster of fighters but Russia was a destination that still remains untapped in many ways when it comes to athletes leaving there to be discovered or for U.S. fighters to go there for some of these competitions.
There are a vast number of fighters from Russia and Russian territories who already fight in the UFC, Bellator and other promotions but the talent pool there is still very deep with more athletes popping up everyday.
That was part of the reason why Butler felt like it was time to expand his own reach while looking for a new world champion who might just be hiding in Russia right now.
“Raty team is a very respected and credible name in their region and their staff and culture are what we are looking for in a global partner. They have an abundant roster of very talented fighters and we will be bringing them into the North American market while they will be helping bring our clients opportunities in Eastern Europe,” Butler stated. “We are very excited about this partnership.”
Butler’s roster already boasts more than 130 athletes but he believes this new partnership will give those fighters all kinds of new opportunities in Russia not to mention the Russian athletes who will hopefully be competing in America.
According to Butler, a major component in teaming up with Raty MMA was to have a trustworthy partner in Russia to bring those American athletes to different promotions outside the U.S.
The same could be said for the Russian athletes finding a home in American based regional promotions where it’s more likely they will be seen by organizations like the UFC and Bellator.
Butler previously announced the signing of welterweight prospect Nikolay Aleksakhin to his roster, which was part of his new deal with Raty MMA. Butler targeted Aleksakhin specifically because he believes the Russian fighter has a real chance to make waves in a promotion like the UFC or Bellator and now he’ll have a team behind him that can help book him in those high profile contests.
Aleksakhin holds a 24-5 record in his career and he previously battled Ben Askren to a decision when he was competing for ONE Championship back in 2016. He’s now riding a six fight win streak including a win over UFC veteran Jonavin Webb in his most recent fight with plans to bring him stateside in the near future.