UFC Rumors: Islam Makhachev vs. Justin Gaethje to Headline UFC’s Saudi Arabia Event After Dana White’s Setback; Fans React

Published 01/15/2024, 11:28 PM EST

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Islam Makhachev might just get back in the saddle for UFC’s first-ever Saudi Arabia PPV. However, it isn’t even a pay-per-view yet, things are a bit tricky since Dana White‘s plans went sideways in a recent discovery. So what’s the story and is the champion involved?

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The UFC was planning its first-ever event in Saudi Arabia. It was meant to be Fight Night 238 which was meticulously planned out by Dana White with an interesting fight card. Alas, the higher-ups in Saudi Arabia did not find it so impressive, forcing a change upon the UFC. Now, with a changed date, will it also become a pay-per-view? Here’s more.

Will Islam Makhachev return to save a doomed card?

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The cocktail made by the card’s rejection and Islam Makahchev dropping an interesting tweet is bringing in all the buzz of the week, here’s what we do know- Dana White’s Fight Night card was rejected, and so, the first-ever Saudi Arabia event in Riyadh was postponed until June.

Islam Makhachev, who had earlier promised a potential bout in March soon announced a fight against Justin Gaethje on June 8th. Regardless, he also maintained that it will be done in a pay-per-view because perhaps anything less is beneath the lightweight champion.

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Will the fight actually happen in Riyadh then? Did Dana White immediately pick up his phone and call Ali Abdelaziz to set up the fight convincing Makhachev to fight in March? It’s all a bit tricky. The thing is, Makhachev had promised either a bout in March or after Ramadan in an earlier X post. So the new announcement works to baffle fans.

Ramadan begins on the 10th of March and ends on the 9th of April in 2024. Makhachev is a devout Muslim who will follow through with the holy month. This means not being able to maintain a certain weight class because the month of Ramadan is observed by adopting some dietary restrictions. So how does it even work for him to fight in June? Fans had interesting takes.

Fans react to Makhachev’s announcement

UFC fans are a mirror that reflects the MMA world as a whole. Makhachev fought his last fight against Alexander Volkanovski and came up victorious in the very first round.

But can he replicate that again? More importantly, can he defend his title more than twice each year? Fans had their doubts.

Others asked for confirmation thanks to the fighter’s earlier post.

Many predicted the presence of yet another brilliant wrestler.

While others weren’t happy with how Makhachev seemed to fight in the Middle East so often.

One of the fans felt like it would be the perfect opportunity.

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Then they were more confused by the information that had been circulated earlier.

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Finally, one Makhachev mega fan wanted only the best for the fighter.

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Clearly, things are a little bit confusing right now. Dana White may make the next Saudi Arabia event a pay-per-view to please the Saudi higher-ups or he might do it in a different card altogether. Perhaps Makhachev too will make some changes in his plans. There’s no way to tell as of right now. But what’s your take on the whole thing so far? We are listening!

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Written by:

Prit Chauhan

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One take at a time

I'm Prit Chauhan, and I'm a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. I've been in the writing business for three years, covering areas like mass media marketing, and even tried my hand at fiction. My experience includes research work at the University of California, Berkeley, which helps me spin fact-based stories about the world of Mixed Martial Arts effortlessly.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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