Morning Report: Dana White says report of Saudi Arabia requesting better UFC debut card is ‘bulls***’

UFC Saudi Arabia has been delayed, but not for the originally reported reason, according to UFC CEO Dana White.

2024 is set to be a year of big-time fights and fight cards if the UFC has its way. From the first four PPV events of the year to breaking into new territories, anything appears possible.

Earlier this week, however, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour that the UFC’s debut in Saudi Arabia set for March 2 had been pushed back to June. The reasoning provided was that the Saudi Arabian government was unsatisfied with the still-forming eight-fight lineup, demanding an improved card. Since the report, a follow-up from Sportsnet’s Aaron Bronster detailed that the event would stay on that date, and instead relocate to the UFC APEX Facility in Las Vegas. White confirmed the change-up around Saudi Arabia, but clarified why things moved.

“We moved the card and I know there’s been a lot of talk about the card wasn’t good enough,” White told Bronsteter yesterday. “We never even proposed a card to them. We didn’t tell Saudi Arabia about one fight, so that’s all bulls***. It was all bulls***. We never even proposed a card to them. What we wanted to do is — every time UFC puts on an event, we wanna blow the doors off the place. We want people to be excited.”

Immediate speculation began to swirl after the report, pondering what kind of card would be built for the debut show. After publicly stating he’d like to defend his title in June, UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev became the seemingly perfect choice to fit the bill. Then his top option amongst contenders, Justin Gaethje, was booked for UFC 300 against Max Holloway in April — the same night Charles Oliveira faces Arman Tsarukyan. The latter of which White claims is still for the next title shot.

Apparently, none of this matters at all regarding UFC Saudi Arabia, as White reiterated that the card won’t be changed to a PPV.

“It was our first fight ever in Saudi Arabia and a couple of the fights that we wanted to line up, they weren’t ready to go, so we pushed the card back because we’re gonna deliver,” White said. “But never once was one fight proposed to Saudi Arabia and they were like, ‘Yeah, no, this isn’t good enough.’

“It’s a ‘Fight Night’ card and there will not be a championship fight on it.”

Nope. Dana White scoffs at Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre or Brock Lesnar returning for UFC 300

Frenemies. Sean Strickland buries hatchet with Dricus du Plessis, but tells Israel Adesanya ‘shut your f****** mouth’

Banter. Julianna Peña: ‘I live rent-free’ in Mayra Bueno Silva’s head, UFC 297 challenger should ‘up that dosage’

Art. Paulo Costa says trash talk between Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis went too far: ‘They need to be more creative

Goal. Brandon Moreno expects title shot with UFC Mexico City win, ‘but I have to make a statement’

Vacancy. Raquel Pennington scoffs at Mayra Bueno Silva’s comments: ‘I don’t know who she thinks she is

Control. Jon Anik confident Sean Strickland can channel emotions from Dricus du Plessis feud in ‘the right way’

Between the Links.

Heck of a Morning.

UFC 297 Pre-Fight Presser Staredowns.

Full Pre-Fight Presser.

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Top Finishes from UFC 297 fighters.

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UFC Connected: Du Plessis.

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Bueno subs.

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A Day In the Life of Volk.

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Zombie Trip.

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Still can’t believe it.


Jones things.

Poatan in town.



Considering the lineup of fights that have been booked for, and were booked for, that March 2 date, I’m going to have to go ahead and not believe Dana here.

Happy Friday, everyone. Nearly time for some good old Canadian chaos for UFC 297. Party on. Thanks for reading!


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