UFC News: Dana White Chronicles First Saudi Arabia Event: 'It Was Amazing'

UFC CEO Dana White expects to stay in business with Saudi Arabia moving forward.
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; UFC president Dana White during UFC 300 at T-Mobile Arena.
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; UFC president Dana White during UFC 300 at T-Mobile Arena. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC CEO Dana White said he was pleased with the way his promotion's first event in Saudi Arabia went, despite the card's reshuffling with just days to go.

White, who said post-fight that he had never been to Saudi Arabia before the event, gave his thoughts on its performance and whether or not he sees plans in the region (excluding the UFC's annual trip to Abu Dhabi).

"Yeah, it was amazing," White said during UFC's ABC and ESPN+ post-fight show. "Obviously, our first time in the kingdom and my first time here. It was a great experience. We’re looking forward to the next one.”

The UFC and Saudi Arabia Are Already Outlining Plans For Their Next Card Together

UFC News: Robert Whittaker Floors Ikram Aliskerov in Saudi Arabia Main Event

According to White and Saudi Arabia's Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, Turki Al-Sheikh, the next event will be held sometime during the first quarter of 2025. Al-Sheikh, who has been instrumental in putting together major boxing events, including Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk in May, said he expects White to up the stakes of the event—adding more fans—and showcasing some of the UFC's premier female talent.

"First of all, I thank Dana [White]; I am shocked,” Al-Sheikh said. "I know the UFC has a lot of fans. But you see, this is changing my mind now. 12,000 fans till 1 a.m.. Now I am asking Dana, for the next card, we want 30,000 [fans]."

UFC Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov Results & Highlights

Adding more fans likely shouldn't be a problem for White and the UFC, considering they have done stadium shows in places like Canada and Australia over the past decade-plus, to name a few.

UFC 306, which is scheduled for the Sphere on Sept. 14, is expected to sponsored by Riyadh Season, marking the first of potentially many numbered pay-per-view events between the two parties.

As for the fights themselves, Robert Whittaker delivered a first-round finish against late-notice replacement Ikram Aliskerov, who suffered his first UFC loss. Meanwhile, Whittaker reaffirmed himself as the middleweight division's No. 1 contender and a potential backup in the absence of either Dricus Du Plessis or Israel Adesanya at UFC 305 in August in Perth.

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Zain Bando


Zain Bando is a writer for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated/Minute Media umbrella. He has covered combat sports since 2019 for notable outlets BJPenn.com and FanSided MMA. He also co-hosts a podcast called "The MMA Outsiders," part of the Empty The Bench Podcast Network, which airs Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT. A Chicago suburban native, Bando has been enthralled with MMA since 2006 and has been fortunate to attend some of the most high-profile events in the sport's history, both as a fan and media member, including UFC 264, Bellator 297 and Kayla Harrison's PFL MMA debut. He is excited to take the next step in his combat sports writing journey and looks forward to continuing his following of the fight game for years to come. Bando can be reached via email at zainbando99@gmail.com or by social media @zainbando99