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A tug of war over the services of former M-1 Global light heavyweight champion Vyacheslav Vasilevsky has broken out between M-1 and Bellator Fighting Championships.

Chicago-based organization Bellator announced the signing of the 23-year-old Combat Sambo World Champion on November 15 of last year. “Slava” was slated to make his promotional debut March 16 in the opening round Bellator’s Season 6 middleweight tournament against “The Ultimate Fighter” veteran Victor O’Donnell. There is now a question surrounding whether the Russian all-rounder was free to sign with Bellator in the first place, as his former promoter claims to have a valid contract with Vasilevsky.

“The contract was from the beginning of 2010 for two years,” M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan told Sherdog.com this week. “It had a champion clause, which was activated when he won the Selection [tournament] and later the Challenge titles. Currently it expires at the beginning of 2013. He owes us in the region of five fights.”

To enforce the contract, M-1 has taken legal action against Vasilevsky in an Amsterdam court. The trial against their former champion started Jan. 16, with a second hearing on Feb. 6.

“We’ve been saying this all along. Vasilevsky is under contract with M-1. The court decision from the Feb. 6 [hearing] is out this week and after that we will be taking legal action in the US to protect M-1’s rights to our fighter,” Kogan continued. “We will be doing everything we can -- with a judgment from Holland on hand -- to make sure that Vasilevsky doesn’t participate in events held by another organization in the US.”

Bellator representatives declined to give an official comment on the matter when asked by Sherdog.com.

Vasilevsky left his native Russia in fall of 2011 to join K-Dojo in the United States. The Fairfield, N.J., gym has already brokered deals which saw Adlan Amagov join Strikeforce and Khabib Nurmagomedov sign with the UFC late last year.

Follow Tim Leidecker on Twitter at @TimLeidecker or contact him at Facebook.com/Rossonero1.

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