Abu Dhabi has proven yet again its potential to become the fight capital of the world. The record-shattering pay-per-view buys of UFC 251 on Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island is a prime example. UFC 251 brought in 1.3 million pay-per-view buys. This is the highest for the UFC for a single event since UFC 229 in October 2018.
UFC 251 was headlined by the reigning champion, Kamaru Usman defending his Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight world title against Jorge Masvidal. The fight card showcased three world title fights.
Due to high standards of safety, infrastructure, and business potential, the concept of ‘Fight Island’ was materialized at Abu Dhabi. This was made possible when the pandemic caused a global shutdown of the sport.
Fight Island was a massive star in this thing. Jorge Masvidal was a massive star. Obviously, Usman, the champion and a guy that we’re all starting to realize are tough to beat – and a great card underneath it. It all came together perfectly.Dana White, President of the UFC
According to the reports, UFC 251 generated almost $78 million in television revenue. The infrastructure and precautions also were applauded 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.
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The sun never sets on action #InAbuDhabi. The first ever #UFCFightIsland will soon begin on #YasIsland, where a ‘safe zone’ has been created to bring world-class, international sports back to the arena. Are you ready to enjoy #UFC action from the comforts of your home? @Adshowdownweek @UFC 📸@yasisland
Abu Dhabi had signed a major five-year contract with the UFC. Abu Dhabi is the capital of Martial Arts when it comes to the Arab world hosting jiu-jitsu events and numerous global Mixed Martial events organized by various promotions. Abu Dhabi was an early investor in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, owning a 10% stake in UFC before it exited its investment in 2018.