Dubai // Fight promoter Tam Khan is already planning the next MMA event in the UAE after the success of the inaugural Dubai Fighting Championship,
An estimated 1,100 people packed the Al Andalus Ballroom in the Habtoor Grand Hotel on Friday evening to see Stav "Crazy Bear" Economou beat Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez, the former UFC champion, by a unanimous decision after three rounds of hard-fought competition in the main event on the 12-fight card.
"The crowd were going mad, and a lot of them were saying it is the best thing they have seen in the UAE," said Khan, the chief executive of the DFC.
"For a debut event to sell out like that and get the feedback it did is great.
"There is no doubt there is an appetite for this type of thing. I think there always has been, but with some of the other shows there have been in the past; perhaps people didn't see the legitimacy behind it.
"With my background in fighting and achievements, perhaps people thought they were going to get a different quality, something you might see in the Western world."
Khan is a fighter turned promoter. He has lived in Dubai for four years and opened the first full-time MMA academy in the Middle East as he looks to promote the sport in the region and create more interest.
"I know what fans want and what fighters want," he said. "I have done it myself for so long I know what it takes. It helps being in the game myself.
"It was mad. The place was on fire when the local guys were fighting. There was so much hype about it before, there were no tickets for it on the day and people still wanted to come in."
Khan, an English fighter of Afghan origin, has already planned the next fight night in the wake of the successful debut. It will take place on June 8, at the Boracay Nightclub in the Asiana Hotel in Dubai.
The show will focus on "future DFC stars; fighters who are not yet professional but would want to display their skills on a smaller scale".
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