Update Post: December 9, 2023 8:24 am
“Chimaev is in the right place.” Why the United Arab Emirates is becoming the center of world MMA
Sergey Sorokin September 26, 2023, 1:15 PM Moscow time
Soon Russia and even the United States will be left far behind.
There is less and less left for the most anticipated tournament of the year: UFC 294. It will be held at the Etihad Arena sports complex in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Traditionally, this city hosts the most important events. And a large number of representatives of Russia and its natives perform at the tournaments. It is worth noting that the next event will be special for Khamzat Chimaev. He will compete in the UFC for the first time under the UAE flag.
We talk about the changes in Borz’s life:
Chimaev is no longer Swedish! But he will not represent Russia in the UFC either.
Russian promoter Kamil Gadzhiev quickly responded to Chimaev’s act. He said Khamzat’s decision seems quite logical and there is nothing surprising about it.
“Chimaev will now represent the United Arab Emirates, not Sweden. I think this is quite logical. The Middle East, the Islamic world… Chimaev is a Chechen who professes Islam. He is in the right place. The Emirates are little by little becoming a place where all the fighters who profess this religion meet. Khabib is there, Makhachev is there, the tournaments are held in the United Arab Emirates, so it is logical that he has changed his sports citizenship.”
It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates is truly becoming the world center of mixed martial arts. And it all started in 2020. That’s when the UFC decided to create a unique “Fight Island” where athletes could fight during a pandemic. At first, Dana White kept his location a closely guarded secret. But he finally gave up and said that the stadium is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Since then almost all the most important events have been held there.
The city has become especially emblematic for the best Russian fighters. You do not believe me? Khabib Nurmagomedov performed in the United States throughout his career and rarely visited other countries. But he fought his last two fights before retiring from the sport in Abu Dhabi. On September 7, 2019, Orel defeated Dustin Poirier and on October 24, 2020 he choked out Justin Gaethje. And it was “Fight Island” that became the last place where Khabib entered the cage.
A similar situation is happening now with one of Orel’s best friends, Islam Makhachev. Up to this point, he has already performed in the United Arab Emirates three times. In the Emirates, the Russian defeated Davi Ramos, Dan Hooker and Charles Oliveira. And now there is a fourth fight ahead: the rematch with the Brazilian. Furthermore, Islam went to Perth (Australia) only because he wanted to show that he was willing to defeat Alex Volkanovski even on his soil.
Or perhaps the United Arab Emirates will host a historic event?
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It is worth noting that the Emirates themselves are actively working to create the most comfortable conditions for the fighters. Training centers were established, as well as one of the best arenas on the planet. A lot of money is invested in the development of mixed martial arts. And the emphasis is really on the Muslims. Therefore, many Russian fighters who profess this religion are eager to fight in Abu Dhabi. And judging by the fact that Khamzat Chimaev decided to represent the United Arab Emirates, in the near future there may only be more athletes under the flag of this country.