The Middle East is emerging as the global hub of fighting sports. Also, it came as nations within the region strive to offer new tourism opportunities via sports. For instance, FIFA named Saudi Arabia as the host of the 2034 World Cup. Aside from that, the kingdom is involved in motorsports, WWE, and fighting sports.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia hosted its inaugural heavyweight bout, “Clash On The Dunes,” between Englishman Anthony Joshua and American Andy Ruiz Jr. However, some human rights organizations called it “sportwashing,” or using sports to boost one’s reputation.

However, the trend has picked up speed considerably in 2023. This past summer, the Professional Fighters League received a substantial investment of nine figures from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund through its company, SRJ Sports Investments (pronounced Surge). Last week, the PFL announced an agreement to purchase Bellator. According to sports betting software reports, it made them a more formidable rival to Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was due to the cash influx.

Global Hub of Fighting Sports

The Middle East Strives to Become the Global Hub of Fighting SportsIn other bookie news, SBJ was the first to reveal that UFC is slated to make its first trip to Saudi Arabia next March, according to an arrangement arranged by Vince McMahon, executive chairman of TKO Group. Since 2014, WWE has made annual trips to the kingdom.

Late in October, the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia staged a heavyweight boxing bout between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou, a former UFC champion, to kick off the multi-month Riyadh Season, an effort to increase the city’s status and attract more tourists. Furthermore, the possibility of Saudi Arabia placing bids for further significant boxing events is growing.

According to sports betting solutions experts, fighters seeking to maximize their earnings in risky sports have a strong financial incentive to accept offers from Middle Eastern monarchies and sheikhdoms. While competing in UFC fights, Ngannou said he might earn as little as six figures. However, according to Marquel Martin, Ngannou’s agent, Ngannou earned “easily in the eight figures,” or over $10 million, in his bout against Tyson Fury, the world heavyweight champion of the World Boxing Council.

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