At the end of last year, online betting operator Parimatch landed a key partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), after becoming the “Official Betting and Wagering Partner of UFC” across EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), excluding the UK and Ireland.

The new international collaboration also made history as Parimatch became the UFC’s first-ever marketing partner from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.

Andrii Suslenko, Chief Communications Officer at Parimatch, emphasised that the synergy between the world’s leading Mixed Martial Arts organisation and Parimatch was undeniable, highlighting that Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov was an avid martial artist in his youth.

Suslenko added that when Portnov met the UFC fighters, the camaraderie shared between the two only elevated Portnov’s desire to secure the partnership.

Collaborating with the UFC was shortly followed by the announcement that the UFC’s most recognisable star, Conor McGregor, would also work closely with Parimatch as a brand ambassador for the company in the CIS region, a move that Suslenko said provided the company with the marketing capabilities to maximise its rebranding.

He said: “Conor has already played a huge role in our rebranding; his character and unmatched fighting spirit is something our customers really relate to, while his flair and charisma also reflect the Parimatch brand.

“As part of our rebranding, we have changed the colour of the company, the shape of the letters and we have launched a new communications campaign. Conor McGregor embodies the new Parimatch culture, bringing a more energetic, more electrified approach to online sportsbooks. We connected Conor’s energy with our desire to change and the result has been special.”

In November 2018, the UFC celebrated its 25th birthday, a landmark that will be celebrated by Parimatch in 2019. Suslenko said that the McGregor deal was the perfect way to mark its own anniversary, describing it as “a partnership that’s connective of the Parimatch DNA”.

The partnership will see Parimatch benefit from branding at the events in the regions it is an ambassador, which included the dramatic UFC Fight Night 145 event in Prague last month. It meant that the Parimatch logo held a strong visibility in the Octagon during the final victory and subsequent retirement of heavyweight icon, Stefan ‘Skyscraper’ Struve.

Suslenko highlighted that McGregor’s explosiveness inside the Octagon has already been replicated in his Parimatch promotional videos. Future activations and promotions have been pencilled in with the former lightweight champion, which are sure to be equally as spectacular.

“McGregor simply doesn’t compromise in the way he pushes against the grain and fights back against the mainstream of fighters, this is our mentality when it comes to disrupting the sports betting space,” Suslenko continued.

“We couldn’t be happier with McGregor as our partner, fans don’t just follow his fights, they aim to live his lifestyle, this is what we are aiming to do with our rebranding.”

He also explained that the planned activations include a short action film depicting McGregor as an all encompassing action hero, replicating the conquering mentality of Parimatch customers.

Parimatch’s UFC partnership isn’t limited to McGregor; the brand has also partnered with a host of Russian MMA stars including the much adored McGregor stablemate Artem Lobov, who is a close friend of Parimatch and Portnov.

As well as this, bantamweight sensation Petr Yan – who dominantly defeated John Dodson in Prague – is partnered with Parimatch as he continues to surge up the rankings.

“We have also always been supportive of a lot of sports, football, hockey basketball to name just a few, we have also had a strong relationship with WWFC, which is a local MMA organisation within Eastern Europe,” said Suslenko.

“Promoting sport has always been a priority for us, especially in Eastern Europe, that’s why we believe that the partnership can be just as beneficial to the UFC as it is to Parimatch.”

Parimatch has committed to providing a strong service for UFC fans, including when it comes to trading, offering an extended variation of markets on the sport allowing players to bet, not only on a host of fight night markets, but also with engaging, unique specialist bets.