Khabib and Seedorf set up Dubai base to launch football schools worldwide

Unique training techniques at school to see a fusion of football and mixed martial arts

Clarence Seedorf and Khabib Nurmagomedov are combining to launch their own football school, which they say will use a “unique training methodology” that fuses football and mixed martial arts.

The Seedorf Khabib Performance Club was announced in Dubai on Monday, with the hugely decorated former footballer and the former UFC champion aiming to open in 10 locations around the world “within the next five years”. While details on destinations and exact timeframe have yet to be provided, Nurmagomedov said that performance clubs, set up through their new company SK Sports Holding, would be established in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

A regular visitor to the UAE, the retired former lightweight champion said: “For sure, if we open here in Dubai we need a performance club in Abu Dhabi. We’re going to work on this in future. We’re going to have Abu Dhabi and Dubai, two performance clubs... minimum.”

A collaboration between Seedorf and Nurmagomedov took root after they met in 2020 - according to Seedorf, they became “instant friends" - and prompted the foundation of SK Sports Holding. The company, which will be headquartered at DMCC in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, will be used to attract local and regional partnerships to operate the performance clubs.

“We have the same mission in life," Seedorf said. "We want to give something back to the young generations. This is not a Dubai project; this is a global project. Our company is based in Dubai.

“We are going to bring in the knowledge, the coaches and methodology, monitoring and supporting from a marketing point of view to support the growth of each venue and each partnership.

“I know [Khabib] knows exactly the things that he can bring from an MMA perspective. I think I know what I can bring from a football perspective. And that we'll be doing and analysing in each different part of the world.”

Nurmagomedov, who said Africa represented also a key market, said: “[Clarence] became a success in his sports, I did in mine. We know how to become champions. Right now, our goal is to create champions. To create champions, you need a system; me and Clarence are going to create that system.”

Seedorf, the only footballer to win the Uefa Champions League with three different clubs – Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan - added: “We have discussed many times how to approach this. Think about the football schools you have everywhere - how many different football schools do you have? The difference is we’re going to select the coaches, we’re going to train those coaches.

"So there’s certified people in front of the kids, which is very important, who are going to be teaching both football and MMA.”

Asked when the next announcements regarding the performance clubs would be made, Seedorf said: "You will hear very soon. Just be patient. Let's enjoy the moment that we have set up our company together here in Dubai, in DMCC in JLT, and let's wait for the next moment when we will sign our next partnership."

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 8:41 AM
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