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UFC Set to Make Debut in Saudi Arabia in March

UFC Set to Make Debut in Saudi Arabia in March

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has officially announced its maiden foray into Saudi Arabia, marking a historic moment for the combat sports world. The eagerly anticipated Fight Night event, scheduled for March, will be part of the renowned Riyadh Season festival and is the result of a partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

Although the roster of fighters for the event is yet to be unveiled, the news has already sparked enthusiasm, with Irish fighter Conor McGregor expressing his excitement on social media platform X, describing the Saudi event as ‘incredible news’.

Saudi Arabia’s venture into mixed martial arts (MMA) commenced in August when the country invested a substantial sum, reportedly exceeding $100 million, into the Professional Fighters League (PFL) through SRJ Sports Investments. This move positions the nation to host a series of PFL pay-per-view (PPV) events. Saudi Arabia’s sports investment arm holds a minority stake in the forthcoming ‘PFL MENA’ regional league.

The UFC’s decision to stage an event in Saudi Arabia comes as no surprise, given the nation’s close association with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE has been organising events in the Gulf nation since 2014, and it is reported that the company receives $50 million from the Saudi Kingdom for each event held there until 2027. This partnership has culminated in the formation of TKO Holdings, a publicly traded company owned by Endeavor, uniting WWE and MMA promotion.

Saudi Arabia is resolutely committed to attracting prestigious sporting events to its territory and wants to disprove any ‘sports washing’ allegations. The nation has successfully hosted boxing matches, golf tournaments, and a Formula One race, in addition to its aspiration to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.

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