In a groundbreaking development for mixed martial arts, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is slated to hold a Fight Night event in Saudi Arabia in March 2024. Vince McMahon, the iconic WWE founder and sports entertainment magnate, is rumoured to be a driving force behind the deal between UFC and the Saudi General Entertainment Authority and according to industry insiders like Wrestling Observer Newsletter, McMahon's established relationship with the Saudi government played a pivotal role in securing this "big money deal," echoing WWE's ongoing lucrative partnership with the kingdom.
The alleged involvement of McMahon in UFC's Saudi venture comes on the heels of a significant merger between UFC and WWE. This collaboration birthed TKO, a publicly traded entity under Endeavor's corporate umbrella. Subsequently, Vince McMahon was appointed Executive Chairman of TKO, gaining a substantial influence over UFC's operations.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, UFC CEO Dana White lauded McMahon, calling him "an incredible partner." White revealed that the two have communicated frequently since the merger, emphasizing that McMahon's strategic initiatives have already bolstered the UFC brand.
UFC Joins Riyadh Festival
ESPN's Marc Raimondi reported that the forthcoming UFC event in Saudi Arabia would coincide with the grand Riyadh Season festival. Dana White will unveil the fight card details in the coming months.
WWE's financially rewarding alliance with Saudi Arabia may have set the stage for UFC's inaugural venture into the Middle Eastern country, cementing the synergies between the two sports entertainment giants. Further heightening the significance of Riyadh as a global sports hub, the city will also host tonight's much-anticipated boxing match between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou.
Additionally, the WWE Crown Jewel premium live event is scheduled in Riyadh next Saturday. This multifaceted collaboration between WWE, UFC, and the Saudi General Entertainment Authority underscores the ever-growing influence of McMahon in the world of combat sports.
It also highlights Saudi Arabia's burgeoning status as a prime destination for high-profile international sporting events.