UFC announces card for Saudi debut, commits to more Perth events

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship has revealed details of its first event in Saudi Arabia on June 22, while it has announced a multi-year partnership with the Western Australian Government to continue staging events at Perth’s RAC Arena.

The UFC had initially been due to host an event in Saudi Arabia on March 2 as part of the Riyadh Season festival, but it was postponed, reportedly due to concerns over the quality of the card.

UFC chief executive Dana White has now announced that June’s event will pit former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker against undefeated rising star Khamzat Chimaev.

The co-main event will feature a matchup between Sergei Pavlovich and Alexander Volkov, with the card to also include Kevin Gastelum vs Daniel Rodriguez, Johnny Walker vs Volkan Oezdemir, and Shara Magomedov vs Ihor Potieria.

The UFC announced in October that it had agreed a hosting deal with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

While the UFC is making its first move into Saudi Arabia, its sister organisation, WWE, has long established ties in the Kingdom. WWE has staged shows in the country since 2014 and currently holds a deal to host two major events there per year.

Meanwhile, the UFC’s new multi-year deal with the Western Australian Government will begin with an event at RAC Arena (pictured) on August 18.

UFC 305 will mark the third time Perth has hosted a UFC pay-per-view event following UFC 221 in February 2018 and UFC 284 in February 2023. The new deal will see the UFC work closely with Tourism Western Australia to bring an additional event to Perth.

Last year’s event in Perth broke RAC Arena records for revenue and sporting event attendance. UFC 284 also broke the national arena record for the highest-grossing ticket sales of any event, but this was later surpassed by UFC 293 at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena in September.

Western Australia Premier Roger Cook said: “The return of UFC to Perth in 2024 is a major coup for Western Australia, following the roaring success of UFC 284 that injected millions into our economy last year.

“UFC has proven to be a huge drawcard with a dedicated fan base, and we expect to see thousands of out-of-state visitors travel to Perth to attend this blockbuster.

“Western Australia continues to strengthen its reputation for hosting world-class sporting events, and with UFC boasting the best of the best in MMA, UFC 305 represents yet another high-calibre spectacle in our events calendar.”

Fighter matchups for UFC 305 will be announced at a later date.

September’s event in Sydney marked the start of a four-year deal between the UFC and the New South Wales Government. Sydney is set to stage two more events by 2027.

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