Turki Alalshikh Reveals Fury vs Usyk Rematch Date: Announces New UFC Deal

The Saudi promoter talked about the current state of boxing and his plan to bring it to a new level, but also confirmed that he and Dana White have made a new strategic plan for the coming period where the UFC and Saudis will have close cooperation

by Sededin Dedovic
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Turki Alalshikh Reveals Fury vs Usyk Rematch Date: Announces New UFC Deal
© Richard Pelham / Getty Images

In a groundbreaking announcement, Turki Alalshikh has confirmed the tentative date for the highly anticipated rematch between heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Alexander Usyk. Alalshikh, whose influence in the world of boxing has grown in recent years thanks to his considerable financial resources and strategic vision, aims to reshape the sport.

Speaking candidly about the current state of the sport in an interview with ESPN, Alalshikh acknowledged its shortcomings, citing reliance on Pay-Per-View models, fragmented governance, and the diminishing importance of the Olympics as key factors contributing to its decline.

"Boxing is broken, but I don't think we need to put everything back together. We need to improve it with something else, a strategic vision where we've identified untapped opportunities and are committed to improving the market." The Saudi businessman has already headlined a number of high-profile boxing events, starting with a rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

in December 2019, followed by Joshua's showdown with Usyk in August 2022. These events marked the beginning of boxing's renaissance, further solidified by matches such as Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou, Joseph Parker vs. Deontay Wilder, and Daniel Dubois vs.

Jarrell Miller. In just ten days, on May 18, Alalshikh is set to stage the sport's most significant event to date as Fury and Usyk battle it out for a historic undisputed title. Moreover, he revealed plans for a rematch to take place on October 12 or 13, underscoring his unwavering commitment to the advancement of the sport, regardless of the outcome of the first fight.

: Turki Al-Sheikh poses with Tyson Fury, Frank Warren, Spencer Brown, Sylvester Stallone and Oleksandr Usyk at HERE on November © Alex Pantling / Getty Images

Moreover, Alalshikh stressed the importance of leveraging insights gained from recent efforts to drive future growth.

"We have meticulously planned our activities over the past six months, investing not only in the commercialization of our season but also in understanding market dynamics. Armed with valuable data and insights, we believe there is huge untapped potential in boxing.

However, addressing market inefficiencies is paramount to realizing this potential." Alalshikh also revealed plans for a blockbuster event at the end of the year that will feature a showdown between American and British fighters, reminiscent of the upcoming 'Matchroom vs Queensberry 5v5' spectacle.

Contract with UFC and Dana White

Under Alalshikh's leadership, General Authority Entertainment quickly emerged as a dominant force in the boxing empire, garnering widespread acclaim for its groundbreaking initiatives. However, the ambitious entrepreneur's aspirations extend beyond boxing, and his forays into the MMA market signal a broader strategic vision.

Turki is aware of who is the leader in that market, and that is without any doubt the UFC. Therefore, in the sixth month of this year, we will see the first UFC event on Saudi territory. June 22 (the sixth month) is the date of the event, which will be led by Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev, and that event will mark the beginning of the cooperation between the UFC and the Saudis.

According to a post on X by HE Turki Alalshikh, "A strategic agreement has been signed between Riyadh Season and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), including the sponsorship of the UFC event in Las Vegas, the UFC event in Riyadh, and Power Slap competitions."

UFC President Dana White arrives Octagonside during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena© Sean M.

Haffey / Getty Images

The update was accompanied by a picture of Dana White signing the deal accompanied by Alalshikh. In the press release, the GEA chairman stated, "This agreement is a continuation of Riyadh Season's aims to host and partner with prominent and international events of mass interest." Despite the event's upcoming debut, the Saudis have already expanded their partnership with the UFC, underscoring their long-term commitment to fostering a successful sports ecosystem.

Riyadh Season, a month-long festival featuring a range of sporting and entertainment spectacles, will serve as the backdrop for the UFC's Saudi debut, confirming the kingdom's status as a premier destination for sports enthusiasts worldwide.

When it comes to the details of the cooperation, it was revealed that the UFC will be a guest in Saudi Arabia during the so-called "Riyadh Season," which takes place in the capital of Saudi Arabia from October to March.

Riyadh Season is the name of a festival that lasts for months and is made up of many sports, music, and entertainment events. The UFC was supposed to hold an event this year as part of that festival, but the event was moved to the aforementioned date.

Riyadh Season will be one of the sponsors of the UFC 306 event, which will take place on September 14 in Las Vegas, inside the spectacular "The Sphere" hall. All of this is still just the beginning of the collaboration between the UFC and Turki Alalshikh.

It is to be expected that this cooperation will grow from year to year, and we will certainly witness spectacular UFC events in Saudi Arabia.

Dana White
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