This past weekend, MMA fans were treated to the UFC Fight Night St. Petersburg, which saw Alistair Overeem defeat Aleksei Oleinik via first round TKO in the main event.
UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov claims the UFC didn’t promote the event or the Russian fighters to well in the lead up, but UFC Vice President Of International & Content David Shaw disagrees with what the champ said.
“I think I would probably respectfully disagree with Khabib on that one,” Shaw said at the post-fight press conference (via Dave Doyle of MMA Junkie). “If you look at what we’ve done, look back, we opened up the office in Moscow … 10 months ago. And in even 10 months we’ve held an event with 23,000 people at Olimpiysky Stadium in Moscow and now here at Yubileyny (Sports Palace), we’re averaging about 15,000 people.”
The UFC has now run two events in the country of Russia and both of those shows were sold out.
Shaw also notes that the majority of the card featured fighters that are from Russia or the surrounding areas.
“Throughout those times, we’ve had a considerable amount on the card that has been occupied by Russian and CIS athletes there was tonight at least one fighter in every fight, I think we might have had out of 22, maybe we had 11 fighters, 12 fighters of Russian, CIS descent,” Shaw said. “The amount of marketing and promotion that went in, the thoughtfulness that went into creating the card in that we don’t just want to have Russian fighters. We had Dagestani fighters. We had Shevchenko on the card as well, right. We’re trying to get a good representation of the whole area.”
There is no word at this time as to when the UFC is expected to run another event in the country.