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UFC agrees long-term deal for fight events to return to Abu Dhabi
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2014 following the announcement of a five-year hosting rights deal.
Revealed yesterday (29th April), the mixed martial arts promotion results from an agreement between UFC and the Abu Dhabi Government’s Department of Culture and Tourism under the Advantage Abu Dhabi Program.
Advantage Abu Dhabi seeks to provide 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 first event under the new deal will be UFC 242 on 7th September and, while the bouts are still being confirmed, the card will be headlined by at least one championship fight, a model that will be retained for the remainder of the contract.
UFC previously held live events in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and in 2014 with the first event, UFC 112: Invincible, being the promotion’s first held outdoors. To stage the event, UFC adapted and expanded the du Arena on Yas Island adjacent to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Announcing the partnership, UFC President Dana White stated “we are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market.
“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.”
The event deal comes after pay-television broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media acquired exclusive UFC media rights in the Middle East and North Africa earlier this month, with the state-run group to launch a localised OTT service and mobile app in the region that will carry the property.
Department of Culture and Tourism Chairman, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak added “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.”
Image: The UFC 112 event in Abu Dhabi in 2010.
15th March 2019 - Special Olympics World Games open in Abu Dhabi
6th January 2018 - Builder announced to deliver Abu Dhabi’s multipurpose Yas Arena
1st November 2017 - Perth Arena to host UFC championship fight event
25th May 2017 - Dubai’s du extends naming rights deal on Abu Dhabi venues
22nd December 2016 - UAE firm engages UFC star to launch MMA-based gym concept
12th November 2016 - Abu Dhabi launches new tourism campaign
11th July 2016 - Consortium buys UFC for US$4 billion
23rd August 2015 - Etihad Stadium to host UFC cage fighting
9th January 2015 - Dubai and Abu Dhabi set new visitor records
10th April 2014 - Abu Dhabi seeks investors for events venue
18th November 2010 - Abu Dhabi to stage 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards
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