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Islam Makhachev unhappy with lack of UFC 284 promotion: ‘More could have been done’

The new UFC lightweight champion feels like Dana White’s problems have kept him from focusing on the upcoming champion vs. champion fight in Australia.

Islam Makhachev v Alex Volkanovski UFC284 Media Opportunity Photo by Brett Hemmings/Zuffa LLC

UFC 284, which takes place RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, is little more than one week away (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023); however, there’s a distinct lack of buzz as the “Champion vs. Champion” bout between Alexander Volkanovski (Featherweight) and Islam Makhachev (Lightweight) approaches.

The silence has been so deafening that even Makhachev has commented on it during interviews.

“I see that it is not such a big promotion,’ he told R-Sport Russia. “Dana White himself has some problems. He does not pay much attention to this fight. In terms of pay-per-view, yes, more could have been done. I only saw Volkanovski once, in Sydney. A tour could be organized around the world, a conference could be held in America.”

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CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

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This is Makhachev’s first title defense as UFC’s 155-pound champion and he gets a cut of the pay-per-view (PPV) proceeds if the event does well. So, it’s not surprising that he’s keeping an eye on how much hype is being generated for what should have been a slam dunk “super” fight against Volkanovski in the Australian’s backyard.

Meanwhile, UFC’s social media account has been all-in on White’s Power Slap league. In fact, MMA reporter Mike Bohn noticed that out of the 50 most recent posts on UFC’s Twitter, only one was focused on UFC 284 (Power Slap had nine).

That could just be timing: he made that post on Thurs., Feb. 2, 2023, hours before Power Slap’s third episode (which still didn’t do too well ratings-wise). And UFC is known to only turn up the promotional heat on fight week, blasting the world with a firehose of content in the final seven days leading up to an event. There’s also the fact that UFC 284 is being held in Perth, Australia, far away from UFC’s promotional base.

But, Makhachev is certainly right: more could have been done.

UFC obviously knows that international events gain less attention in North America. Indeed, a United States-based press conference could have done wonders to hype up the momentous Makhachev vs. Volkanovski fight. At this point, Makhachev speaks English well enough to hold up his end of the promotional bargain.

It’s reasonable to ask why UFC hasn’t held up its end.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 284: “Islam vs. Volkanovski” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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