LOL: Adesanya argues Saudi Arabia was better before they allowed Women drivers

Middle Eastern powerhouse, Saudi Arabia, has been making headlines in recent years for its rapid modernization and socioeconomic reforms. Saudi Arabia is even sponsoring a first ever UFC card there.

UFC Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya, recently shared his personal experiences and observations from his multiple visits to the Kingdom.

In a candid interview on the Mighty Mouse podcast, Adesanya revealed that he had been invited to Saudi Arabia four times, with his first visit coinciding with a significant milestone in the country’s history. “The first time I got invited there, women only just got allowed to start driving,” he recalled, referencing the historic lifting of the ban on female drivers in 2018.

Adesanya’s subsequent visits provided him with a unique perspective on the country’s rapid transformation. During his second visit, he humorously recalled encountering a peculiar phenomenon: congested roads. “The second time I went there, there was a lot of traffic,” he joked, mimicking the reactions of his hosts: “Nah, I’m joking, they were all like, ‘You see, your Excellency? This way, I don’t let these [people] drive.'”

The UFC champion’s lighthearted anecdotes aside, his experiences offer a fascinating glimpse into Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 reforms. The kingdom has invested heavily in modernizing its infrastructure, with projects like the $500 million (USD) Qiddiya entertainment complex and the $2.2 billion (USD) Red Sea tourism project.

Adesanya’s observations on the country’s evolving social dynamics are equally insightful. “When I went there the first time, it was like 2019, and women just got allowed to start driving. To see the progression, the growth, it’s been amazing,” he reflected. His comments highlight the significant strides Saudi Arabia has made in recent years, from granting women the right to drive to introducing measures to increase female participation in the workforce.

The former UFC champion’s accounts also underscore the importance of cultural exchange and understanding. As Saudi Arabia continues to open its doors to the world, Adesanya’s experiences serve as a testament to the power of people-to-people diplomacy.