On March 2, 2024, the UFC will have its inaugural event in Saudi Arabia. The event will take place in conjunction with Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season festival. According to a press release, UFC president Dana White will name the card’s combatants in the following months.
The event is being held in collaboration with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.
The announcement follows the UFC’s merger with WWE, which resulted in the formation of the new publicly traded TKO business under Endeavour. WWE has been doing shows in Saudi Arabia since 2014, and the company has a lucrative arrangement with the kingdom that includes two major WWE events there each year.
Conor McGregor, an Irish fighter, has already praised the Saudi event, calling it ‘great news’ in a post on social networking site X. In August, the Arab state made its first foray into mixed martial arts (MMA) by investing more than $100 million in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) through SRJ Sports Investments.
As a consequence, the nation will host a series of PFL pay-per-view (PPV) events, and the country’s sports investment arm will be a minority investor in the yet-to-be-launched ‘PFL MENA’ regional league. The Saudi PIF is already involved in MMA, since it holds a minority ownership in the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a UFC competitor.
Working with Saudi Arabia has been a contentious issue for sports leagues, but it has also proven to be a profitable one.The fights on the Saudi Arabia Fight Night card have not yet been announced, although UFC president Dana White has stated that the card would be announced in the coming months.
According to Dana White, Vince McMahon was responsible for the UFC’s latest agreement with Saudi Arabia. TKO Group Holdings, the firm founded after WWE’s merger with UFC, is led by Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman. UFC will conduct their debut show in Saudi Arabia on March 2, 2024.
“It was Vince McMahon. It was 100% Vince McMahon,” Dana White said regarding the deal getting arranged. “He made every call, he didn’t make one move without picking up the phone and calling me and getting me in the loop and seeing if I was cool with this and that. And he went from being, oddly enough, I don’t know why, an enemy, to being an unbelievable incredible partner.”
The latest WWE premium live event in Saudi Arabia will be Crown Jewel, which will take place on November 4 at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.