The UFC will still head to Saudi Arabia in 2024, just a few months later than originally expected.
Wednesday, Saudia Arabia’s chairman of general authority for entertainment Turki Alalshikh announced the UFC Fight Night event in Riyadh initially scheduled for March 2 has been officially postponed until June 22.
“A decision to reschedule was taken to ensure the best caliber of talent will be available to participate,” Alalshikh wrote.
News of the decision to postpone the event first surfaced Jan. 15 through a report by veteran journalist Ariel Helwani.
Following UFC 297 on Saturday, White denied the portion of Helwani’s report that indicated Saudi Arabia pushed back against the proposed fight card. However, White confirmed the change occurred due to an inability to stack the card, one Saudi Arabia paid a $20 million site fee for, according to TKO chief operating officer Mark Shapiro.
“Total bullsh*t,” White said at Saturday a UFC 297 post-fight news conference in Toronto. “That’s a straight-out f*cking lie. I don’t know who started it or how it started, but not one fight was announced to Saudi. I called and asked to push the card back. We had a couple of guys we wanted on the card and they weren’t ready. You know how we are. We wanted to deliver. If we’re going to Saudi Arabia and the level these guys do things… and it’s a Fight Night. We want to make it the best Fight Night we’ve ever done. So Anybody who came out and said it was because the card wasn’t good is a f*cking liar.”
Riyadh Season announced hosting the first UFC Fight Night in cooperation with the leading international organization in the field of mixed martial arts (MMA) 😍🔥
It has been postponed to Saturday, June 22 🗓#BigTime#RiyadhSeason#برنامج_جودة_الحياة pic.twitter.com/kSR47XBEmz
— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) January 24, 2024
At the time of the report, fighters, coaches, nor teams booked for the card had been notified of a location shift. The March 2 event now takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with the same fights originally booked for the event (pending any potential travel issues among fighters).
No fights have been announced for the June 22 fight card at this time.