UFC President says Abu Dhabi might become "Fight Capital of the World"

Dana White hails Abu Dhabi as "perfect" at the weigh-in ahead of third UFC Fight Island event, set to take place Sunday, July 19

UFC President says Abu Dhabi might become Fight Capital of the World

UFC Fight IslandTM marks the first step in Abu Dhabi’s return to welcoming events and international tourists back, in a COVID-19-impacted world 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: UFC President Dana White praised Abu Dhabi for its “perfect” handling and hospitality at the weigh-in for the third event on UFC Fight IslandTM in the UAE capital, which is set to take place on Sunday July 19. 

With doubts surrounding upcoming UFC fights scheduled for August in Las Vegas, due to Nevada’s increasing COVID-19 case count and rumours of a potential return to lockdown for the State, White was asked at the end of the weigh-in for the third fight night on Yas Island what his back-up plan would be.  

“People thought this Fight Island thing was three or four fights and that’s a wrap,” said White. “That’s not true – we’re here to stay. As far as trying to find another venue outside of the United States, it isn’t happening. Why would I go anywhere other than Abu Dhabi? Abu Dhabi could end up becoming the fight capital of the world… it’s definitely not Las Vegas right now.

“We are going to do a lot of fights over here. If you look at how many international fights we do, those are here in Abu Dhabi. DCT Abu Dhabi are incredible to work with; I literally could not say enough good things about this partnership. Literally everything has been perfect. When you look at what we’re dealing with and the circumstances going on, there’s nowhere else… these guys are the best at what they do. Nobody does it like Abu Dhabi.”

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has a five-year agreement with UFC to host one event per year. UFC Fight IslandTM is in addition to that agreement, so a 2020 fight is still owed as part of that deal.

Saeed Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Director at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “We are committed to our agreement with UFC and will support Dana and his team where possible to ensure the sport can continue safely during COVID-19. We believe we’ve achieved that with our dedicated UFC Fight Island ‘safe zone’ on Yas Island, which aims to deliver a safe event for all and protect the wider Abu Dhabi community.

“Our mission is to learn from this event, so that we may start the journey of welcoming back international tourists and hosting events with spectators. Dana says Abu Dhabi might become the fight capital of the world, and I would love nothing more than to welcome fans of UFC to Abu Dhabi shores soon, when it’s safe to do so. Until then, we continue to test, learn and share our knowledge with the sporting world.”

More than 12,000 COVID-19 tests have now been administered on UFC Fight Island in the last four weeks, with all UFC personnel, event staff and Yas Island employees tested every 72 hours. This testing protocol, as well as a 14-day staff quarantine and innovative measures such as ‘mist tunnels’ – 1.5m sanitisation tunnels on entry to the venue – are all part of Abu Dhabi’s mission to bring back events and tourists in 2020. 

UFC Fight IslandTM continues with two more ESPN Fight Nights on Sunday, July 19 from 1am local time (17:00 ET) and Sunday, July 26 from 1am local time (17:00 ET). 

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About the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

The Department of Culture and Tourism conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction, which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The organisation manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and Louvre Abu Dhabi. DCT Abu Dhabi also supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.

About UFC:

UFC® is the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, with more than 318 million fans and 102 million social media followers. The organization produces more than 40 live events annually in some of the most prestigious arenas around the world, while broadcasting to nearly one billion TV households across more than 175 countries. UFC’s athlete roster features the world’s best MMA athletes, representing more than 65 countries. The organization’s digital offerings include UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading streaming service for combat sports. UFC was acquired in 2016 by global entertainment, sports and content company Endeavor and strategic investors Silver Lake Partners and KKR. UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram: @UFC.

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