A new ‘groundbreaking partnership’ has been announced between the NRL and UFC ahead of March’s mouth-watering double-header in Las Vegas which will kick off the Australian elite’s 2024 season.
As confirmed last month, four NRL clubs will take to the field at the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Vegas on March 2, with Manly Sea Eagles taking on South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters going up against this year’s beaten Grand Finalists Brisbane Broncos.
As part of the newly-formed partnership, all four clubs will now have access to state-of-the-art UFC training facilities for the duration of their stay in Vegas.
In the words of the NRL themselves, the partnership is one which has been made to ‘provide unprecedented opportunity for rugby league to engage with new audiences in the US like never before’.
Promotional and content opportunities both in Australia and the US will also be presented to clubs, with the expectation for players to be involved alongside high-profile stars from the UFC roster.
NRL and UFC confirm ‘groundbreaking’ new partnership ahead of Las Vegas 2024 season opener
A handful of representatives from the four NRL clubs involved in March’s double-header opener are currently over in the US on media duties.
Those over there attended a session with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin, grappling with one another in a practice as the partnership got its first ‘event’.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said: “This is a groundbreaking partnership that will provide opportunities for UFC fans to get an understanding and insight on what our great game is all about.
“UFC has a global fan base of 700million and remains one of the fastest growing sports in the world. They have invested in their athletes, in their events and in their fans.
“I am excited about the possibilities this strategic partnership provides for us to grow our audiences both in the US and Australia.”
UFC Vice President, Head of International and Content Dave Shaw meanwhile added: ” There is a great link between our two sports, and I am excited about this partnership and the opportunities we have to grow together.
“We know the NRL is one of the biggest sporting competitions Down Under and they have aspirations to grow their sport here in the US.
“We have seen UFC athletes like Alex Volkanovski and Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa start their careers in rugby league before transitioning to MMA… and we’ve also seen plenty of NRL stars enjoying the action at our UFC events across the globe.
“There is a connection between the sports that transcends beyond the Octagon and that is what excites us about this partnership.”