Xtreme Kombat League: The Road to Dubai

Xtreme Kombat League: The Road to Dubai

(Dubai skyline via Activerain.com)
(Dubai skyline via Activerain.com)

Eric Rafiq’s first MMA show was held on Aug. 15 of this year but the promoter began building his company eight years ago.

Rafiq, who says he specializes in “taking businesses that are under stress and making them profitable,” first dreamt of starting an MMA promotion in 2001. “We wanted to get a proper business structure in place” before promoting fights, Rafiq says. His company, Xtreme Kombat League, established offices in Windsor and suburban Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Dubai before it held a single fight.

Rafiq’s global approach reflected three years of market analysis. “We looked at America, we looked at Europe, and we ended up in Dubai,” he says. Rafiq worked closely with the emirate, establishing an office in the prestigious Dubai Tower. The reward for his diligence is an exclusive license to promote mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and boxing in the emirate and a promotional relationship with the Dubai Shopping Festival, an annual gathering of the super wealthy.

On Aug. 15, Rafiq & Co. started traveling down “The Road to Dubai” at the Convocation Centre at Eastern Michigan University in Detroit. Qualifiers from that card were selected to join the cast of “Xtreme Fighter,” a reality competition that will start at the end of Sept. from Dubai.

Thirty-two fighters in all will travel to Dubai and train under Pat Miletich and Dan Severn. Each day’s activities will be streamed live on MMAActionLive.com, a property of the XKL, and viewers will have the opportunity to vote on which fighters are followed by camera crews as they train and explore the desert metropolis. Over the course of the show, the fighters will compete for the right to compete for championship belts in several divisions at the XKL show to coincide with the Shopping Festival in February.

According to Rafiq, those belts will be made of 22-carat gold and Swarovski crystal but the XKL’s generous plans don’t stop there. The promoter says that the XKL intends to solicit sponsorships for fighters but will not take a finders fee. He also says he intends to create a pension fund for XKL fighters.

The XKL’s promotional relationship with the Dubai Shopping Festival may help bring these pie-in-the-sky plans to fruition. A city of nearly two million, Dubai is largest of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, a cluster of small oil-rich kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula. Abu Dhabi, known to many MMA fans as the home of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission grappling tournament, is the capital of the UAE and its second most populous city. UAE royals have long been patrons of martial arts, particularly grappling arts, and XKL execs are confident that Dubai will be a solid base for expansion.

“We plan to hold five to seven shows per year starting with India, South Africa, Germany, Malaysia, and then back to Michigan,” Rafiq says.


  1. Neal, these guys are keeping their word for the fans as well. 4 airline tickets to Dubai were given away at the Michigan event.and believe they have tons of prizes and give aways for the fans.
    I was there at the Michigan event and saw some of the best amateur fights in the game.
    Dubai seems to be an exotic choice for a venue and I am keen to see who will be fighting.
    I’ve started throwing coins in my piggy bank to save up for the day to see this. Three knockouts with one punch MMA, Dubai, and Bargains.
    Keep us posted of their reality TV episode.



    • Good to hear, Rae. We’ve seen a lot of MMA promotions come and go in the last few years. Eric has some ambitious plans and I am really curious to see how it all pans out.

  2. This is nothing yet, believe me in a couple of weeks you all MMA fans will get a surprise of your life what we are really going to do world wide. Hoping to you all MMA fans nothing but the best fights in the world.

  3. I also attended that event in Detroit, and let me tell you there is nothing like live fighting…The half time show was also really interesting..There was a singer there who looked like Storm from x-men, she just made my night…lol
    Keep up the good work Eric…

  4. XKL is doing great….Eric Rafiq is awesome….. I saw the pop singer too her name is storm…wow….XKL fan lets fight..lol

  5. We had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the August 15th fights in Michigan. XKL is one of, if not the best organizations we have fought for. They really go out of their way for the fighters. Our 4 guys that we have going to Dubai are honored and eager to go. Thanks Eric, and we’ll see you soon.

  6. I can’t wait to see what happens in Dubai!! I have some friends that are living there and they said that they are already talking about the main fight in Feb.. pretty great stuff to have a New group of guys really do something big.. I am sick of the UFC.. Its a joke. they run out of fighters so they hire anyone.. excuse me Hot Dog man.. Would you be interested in fighting for us? Oh and how about you dad? we need help!

    I love what Dana and the boys did for the sport, but its getting lame.. Competition is always great for the FANS and the FIGHTERS!!! That is what should drive this sport.. not who we can make the most $$$ off!

    Eric and the XKL team, you guys rock, I wish you the best and show the world MMA!!!

  7. Xtreme Kombat League is the new force in MMA. I wish ya’ll nothing but great success. I was at the show and it was pretty live. MMA is real… how will i be able to see the fight in Dubai…. and does any one have any info on the artist storm….? XKL YOU ROCK!

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