UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi this month is further proof of the capital’s ability to host big global events with fans in attendance, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said, as the emirate continues to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
UFC 267, the first event in Abu Dhabi since January that features the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, takes place at the Etihad Arena on October 30. With two title fights headlining, it marks the conclusion of a second week of confrontation in Abu Dhabi.
The UFC’s latest visit to the capital, a third Fight Island series featuring three nights of fighting, was open to a limited number of spectators at the Etihad Arena, marking the first time the organization has hosted an event in front of an audience. live since last March. year.
The allocated capacity at the Yas Island venue has been increased for UFC 267 in accordance with government guidelines, with the initial batch of tickets selling out last month in less than two weeks. Since then, other seats have been vacated.
UFC card 267 is topped by Polish champion Jan Blachowicz’s light heavyweight defense against Glover Teixeira.
Talk to The National, Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing, DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi is another milestone for the UAE capital, highlighting our ability to host major world events with fans in attendance.
“Abu Dhabi is the international home of the UFC, and we are honored to welcome our longtime partners back to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s really exciting to see the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week [ADSW] for a second edition. The week-long festival of entertainment and lifestyle events provides an opportunity to truly reconnect with UFC fans, event buffs, residents and visitors to the UAE, surrounded by our proven protocols of health and safety to ensure the well-being of all parties.
“As Abu Dhabi gradually reopens to welcome tourists again, ADSW will allow fans to witness the thrill of a live event.”
In April 2019, DCT Abu Dhabi announced a five-year partnership with the UFC to host a major event each year until 2023, although the capital quickly became the international base for the promotion during the pandemic.
The first Fight Island took place in July last year, comprising four events, with Abu Dhabi hosting eight more over the next six months.
“Abu Dhabi’s ability to continue to welcome UFC fighters from around the world in a safe and secure environment to compete is demonstrated by previous editions of Fight Island,” said Al Shaiba. “When the world was at a standstill, innovation and cooperation between our organization and the UFC really took center stage.
“Our current partnership with the UFC is in its third year and it has been one of the most successful endeavors of recent years. After welcoming fans to the Etihad Arena for UFC 257 in January, it’s really exciting to be able to welcome even more fans to our state-of-the-art venue for UFC 267 on October 30th.
“Abu Dhabi Showdown Week will help solidify the UAE capital’s position as the world capital of international wrestling.”
When asked how long after October 30 UAE fans can expect another UFC event, Al Shaiba simply replied, “The new Etihad Arena… is the international home of the UFC, and Abu Dhabi is ready to host UFC events in a safe environment.
“Previous UFC events and now the second edition of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week have further strengthened the DCT Abu Dhabi-UFC partnership. The UFC is always welcome in Abu Dhabi, and we’ll see more events in 2022 and beyond.
Al Shaiba also said that “DCT Abu Dhabi and the UFC always strive to bring fans the best events featuring the biggest names, and we will continue to do the same in UFC 267 and beyond. “.
In August, UFC President Dana White announced he had “massive and major” long-term plans for Abu Dhabi. However, he has yet to make this information public.
While not directly referring to White’s vision for the UFC and the capital, Al Shaiba said: “DCT Abu Dhabi supports ambitious plans to make the UAE capital the global hub of mixed martial arts [MMA]. Abu Dhabi has become synonymous with world-class cultural and sporting events, and the successful staging of recent UFC events is just the latest sign of the UAE capital’s capabilities to host major global events.
“The partnership between DCT Abu Dhabi and the UFC will further strengthen Abu Dhabi’s mission to become the MMA capital of the world.”
Update: October 11, 2021, 2:08 p.m.