UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) have announced a partnership to bring UFC events to the Emirate for the next five years.
The first fight as part of the deal will take place in Abu Dhabi on September 7 this year.
UFC will be a part of Abu Dhabi’s continually growing mega events calendar, with new festivals, sporting events and other initiatives being drawn to the emirate in part by the attractive benefits offered by the Advantage Abu Dhabi programme, states a UFC media release.
Advantage Abu Dhabi provides a unique opportunity for event organisers, increasing the overall value proposition of the destination by providing an array of support services throughout the event planning cycle. The partnership with UFC is the latest to demonstrate the power of the programme in creating new business opportunities in Abu Dhabi.
UFC’s highly anticipated return to Abu Dhabi, the promotion’s first since 2014, will air live on global broadcasters around the world and on Pay-Per-View in select markets.
Though the bouts are still being confirmed, the card will be headlined by at least one championship fight. Likewise, over the course of the partnership, subsequent UFC events held in Abu Dhabi will be headlined by at least one championship bout.
“Abu Dhabi is now firmly established as a unique tourism destination which offers a diverse mix of activities and initiatives that cater to all kinds of audience and visitors,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi.
“The emirate also has a strong affiliation with world-class sporting events, such as the FIFA World Club Cup, the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Red Bull Air Race, and now this deal to bring UFC here allows us to once again show our ability to stage major events that thrill visitors and residents alike. UFC will become a key component of Abu Dhabi’s thriving events calendar for the next five years, which is already packed full of not only great sporting events, but also cultural, arts and entertainment offerings as well. This spectacular mixed martial arts event, which has a huge following around the world, will bring heightened impetus to visitation in the third quarter for the emirate and will no doubt boost incoming tourist numbers as fight fans across the world gather in Abu Dhabi.”
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” said UFC President Dana White. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE. I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”
UFC previously held live events in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and in 2014. UFC made history with its first event, UFC 112®: INVINCIBLE, on April 10, 2010, as it was the promotion’s first event held outdoors. To stage the event, UFC had built an open-air arena on Yas Island adjacent to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
UFC had again returned to Abu Dhabi on April 11, 2014, as the promotion hosted UFC® FIGHT NIGHT: NOGUEIRA vs. NELSON at du Arena on Yas Island.