2018 might see the UFC tread new ground with plans in motion for cards in both Hawaii and Russia in the near future.
Of course, the UFC has long targeted Russia as a prime spot for international expansion, especially considering the long list of top ranked fighters who hail from the country where mixed martial arts is beloved.
According to UFC president Dana White, officials are actually meeting with representatives from Russia in London to hopefully hammer out a deal to go there sooner rather than later.
“My whole team is over in London right now working on a Russia deal,” White said on “UFC Tonight”. “They will come home with a deal in Russia.”
There have been rumors for weeks that the UFC was targeting a September date for a Russian card but White says that’s premature at this time. Still it’s definitely a priority to get a deal done so the UFC can finally travel to Russia.
As far as Hawaii goes, that’s been another dream destination for the UFC over the years but there was a provision in the tax code there that made it nearly impossible to justify the cost it would take to put on a show in the state.
With the recent rise of Max Holloway to featherweight champion as well as fellow Hawaiians like Yancy Medeiros and recent “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Rachael Ostovich hailing from the state, it seems like a natural fit for the UFC to go there now.
“Well, we’re going to both. The question is which one first,” White said about traveling to Hawaii and Russia. “Which one will we fight in first?
“That remains to be seen. But obviously everybody’s on board to go work UFC Hawaii.”