Abu Dhabi dared the odds with its infrastructure and leadership to host the top MMA organization in the world. Dana White, the UFC president confirmed Abu Dhabi would stage some of the most prestigious fights in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
During an exclusive interview with The National, the UFC president praised Abu Dhabi for the role that it plays in the world of combat sports. He also shared the possibility that in the near future stage some of the most prominent fights in the sport will be staged in Abu Dhabi. What is notable is the most anticipated return of the biggest star in the sport, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Among multiple factors that contributed to the rise of Abu Dhabi is the record-shattering pay-per-view buys of UFC 251. UFC 251 is the sixth highest-grossing show in terms of pay-per-views in the promotion’s history, with a reported 1.3 million buys.
According to the reports, UFC 251 generated almost $78 million in television revenue. The infrastructure and precautions also were praised around the world including creating a safe zone to ensure the safety of the athletes. The 11km stretch of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island was locked off to the public to create the ‘safe zone’. Athletes and staff were tested twice before arriving at the UAE, and twice again on arrival, before spending 48 hours in quarantine.
The future holds of the UFC awaits the epic return of the undefeated champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov who will eye for the lightweight unification clash with Justin Gaethje. The imminent bout was postponed following the sad demise of Nurmagomedov’s father, the legendary veteran – Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Also hinted is the Women’s strawweight championship bout between Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas.
Dana White has confirmed plans for another Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The return to Abu Dhabi is expected for October. The UFC signed a five-year agreement with the emirate in April 2019, with Fight Island later added as an “extension” of that arrangement.