Turki Alalshikh wants next UFC Saudi Arabia card to be ‘2 or 3 times’ bigger than June 22 event


Saudi Arabia has big plans for the UFC.

As the promotion prepares to land in Saudi Arabia for the first time on June 22 with a card headlined by Khamzat Chimaev and ex-middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, a deal has already been struck to extend the relationship, with another UFC Saudi Arabia event planned for late 2024 or early 2025. In addition to that deal, Riyadh Season — the annual music, sports, and entertainment festival held in Saudi Arabia — is set to serve as a primary sponsor for UFC 306 in September, which takes place at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Turki Alalshikh, who heads up Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Fund, teased where he expects the UFC relationship to go next after striking the deal with UFC CEO Dana White.

“This is the first card in our country and it is good, but we want more,” Alalshikh said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “The last time I saw Dana in New York, we discussed and finished a deal with a big card at the end of this year or the beginning of [2025] in Riyadh, more [big by] two or three times than this card.

“Also, this is an important thing to explain to the people, there will be a huge UFC card in Vegas in September in the Sphere presented by Riyadh Season and supported by Riyadh Season. It will be an amazing card.”

Considering the lineup headed to Saudi Arabia on June 22, with the main card decorated by ranked fighters and former champions, an event double or triple that size could potentially mean a title fight or other marquee matchups.

While nothing has been determined yet, Alalshikh expects UFC to produce a blockbuster event for the second show in Saudi Arabia.

“I think it will be pay-per-view,” Alalshikh said. “Something big. But usually the UFC does it big.”

Before plans can start for a second show, Alalshikh knows the first card has to take place in June, but he expects to grow and evolve his relationship with UFC moving forward. He said even a superstar like Conor McGregor could eventually headline a UFC Saudi Arabia card, but that wasn’t in talks for McGregor’s return, which takes place at UFC 303 on June 29.

Of course, McGregor has met with Alalshikh while attending big boxing matches in Saudi Arabia, so that relationship has already flourished based on a previous encounter.

“Why not?” Alalshikh said of bringing McGregor to Saudi Arabia. “But the card in June, it was the beginning of the relationship. After that, we reached some point and in the future, it will be a long relationship, similar to what we have with WWE.

“Now we are around seven years with WWE and we have more years. UFC now and Dana, we will have a lot of business together.”


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