The UFC returns to Russia this Saturday in Saint Petersburg with a UFC Fight Night card on ESPN+ headlined by Alistair Overeem vs. Alexei Oleinik. Past that, the event’s got a ton of largely unknown Russians and Europeans filling out the card ... not a bad thing by any means considering the level of competitors coming out of both regions.
But it can be hard to get excited without the UFC helping out a little promotion wise. That’s an issue UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov seemed to agree with during an M-1 Apeha Q&A event, also going down in Saint Petersburgh.
“It seems to me that after the event in Moscow there were all the same people, all the same media that were,” Nurmagomedov said (via BJPenn.com). “UFC fans are watching, but I know that most people don’t even know that they are doing UFC in Russia. 20 April, Magomed Mustafaev will fight with a new guy (Rafael Fiziev), no one even knows about this fight. Or [Alexei] Oleinik vs. [Alistair] Overeem. Why not show or promote it?”
“On the first event: Taisumov, Khabilov, Omari Ahkmedov fought. Taisumov has five victories in a row. Khabilov has several wins. But they didn’t even participate in any media events or promotion. Krylov participated, who returned after being fired. Petr Yan participated who was conducting the second fight in the UFC. I think the UFC should have a different policy. UFC need to pay attention to our fighters.”
Sadly it seems like the UFC often takes a hands off approach to promoting its fighters, trusting instead in the platform and assuming the cream will naturally rise to the top. I guess that works, but imagine a world where the UFC provided highlight videos, maybe one for all the main card fighters and another for the prelim portion of the card?
Just simple things like that would be appreciated. As it stands, UFC fans are going to have to do their own research if they want to find out about studs like Ivan “Ural Hulk” Shtyrkov or Gadzhimurad Antigulov.