When Roy Nelson and ‘Big Nog’ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira step into the Octagon on April 11 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, it will be the first of five events in the Middle East in the next 2 years, in which time a TUF series could also be staged there.
The area is already a Brazilian jiu-jitsu heartland. And MMA is growing exponentially there.
The UFC’s major expansion into the Middle East, with FLASH Entertainment, the region’s foremost live entertainment producer and promoter, will create “at least” five live UFC events as part of a two-year agreement. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Turkey were mentioned as possible locations on the agenda. Additionally, the partnership is hatching plans to bring the hit reality sports television show, The Ultimate Fighter, to the region.
John Lickrish, Chief Executive Officer at FLASH Entertainment:
FLASH Entertainment has been proud partners of the UFC for many years, stretching back to the historic UFC 112 event in Abu Dhabi in 2010. The announcement today heralds a bright future for the millions of fight fans and practitioners alike across the Middle East and North Africa, as we work together to develop a programme of year-round UFC events. We look forward to making further announcements very soon.
This move will create massive opportunities for fighters in the Middle East and around the world as a whole.