During 2020, the UFC surprised the fans of Mixed Martial Arts in the Middle East by providing talent from the region the greatest opportunity by focusing on Abu Dhabi, UAE for its phase of expansion. Establishing the “Fight Island” at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE is something the entire region is looking forward as an opportunity for the thriving MMA scene in the region. This step came at a time when Arab MMA fighters were hard hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there are rumors that Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) at ‘Fight Island’ could be a reality by November, this sets hopes high for Arab fighters who conquered a steep career trajectory and proved to the world that they can give the tough challenge for even the battle-tested veterans.
Here we are exploring three simple reasons why the Dana White’s Contender Series will benefit the fighters in the region.
Global Exposure and Revenue
Arab MMA fighters are among the best in the world. However, they require to showcase their skills at the highest level to gain global recognition. The sheer brilliance of Khamzat Chimaev was globally recognized when he thrived in the UFC. Dana White has proved his genius from time to time as a successful promoter who can make a difference in the careers of fighters.
DWCS is the first step before the possibility of a UFC contract. Even a tryout is considered as an honorable mention while competing in domestic promotions. Being an athlete a step closer to the UFC opens opportunities to maximize revenue from their personal endeavors, coverage by mainstream media, social media growth, and access to sponsors.
Athlete paychecks with the UFC are public, event statistics are available, the successful fighters have transitioned into Hollywood, even the importance of video games released of that of the UFC is crucial which makes a fighter a global superstar and a household name. DWCS could turn out into an opportunity to overcome one among the primary obstacles in an athlete’s career, of that of the income-earning potential and global exposure.
Opportunity for Arab MMA Fighters
DWCS taking place in Abu Dhabi will come with opportunities for fighters from the region. The current travel restrictions and situation combined with athlete requirements in the short notice could be capitalized by regional talent.
It is a necessity that fighters in the region must get exposed to global competition to keep their learning curve up to date. Competing with global talent will also bring changes to the current style of fighting by adding new skill sets.
More than ever, this will also open doors for the fighters to other competing rival promotions. The diversity of skill, style, and approach of Arab MMA fighters is not explored yet. DWCS will allow this to be showcased to the world.
Introduction To a Developmental System
When Arab MMA fighters were introduced to the sport in the region, they did not get the opportunity to settle down and grow but had to dive into the deep end of the pool and start swimming with the sharks. The way the fighters have conquered the steep learning curve to excel global superstars is often omitted by the mainstream MMA media.
Desert Force Championship, UAE Warriors, BRAVE Combat Federation, and Phoenix Fighting Championship indeed gave their contributions to athletes in the region. But the learning experience of competing at the UFC will be unrivaled.
DWCS will give the new generation of Arab athletes the opportunity to take their careers in a competitive yet systematic manner than taking risks early in their careers. This will allow fighters to understand how the sport operates on a global level and gives a deeper understanding of the operational model of the sport.
The progressive initiatives by the United Arab Emirates to embrace and support sports in the region has already made a huge difference in the lives of athletes and the way the sport is organized. Bringing global competition will force regional players to keep improving their standards and to offer athletes better resources to stay in the competition.
UFC is the dream destination for every fighter who had stepped into the cage and UFC is the yardstick for every MMA promoter even if they state UFC is not their competition.
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