Abu Dhabi

UFC extends partnership with Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism

UFC, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), and The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) – today announced the continuation of their existing partnership which sees the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation bring one numbered event featuring a championship bout to the Emirate every year. The new partnership will also expand to include additional Fight Night events, which will take place across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

UFC has a longstanding relationship with Abu Dhabi, with 18 events having been held in the region since 2010. The two sides entered a formal partnership in 2019, and since then, some of the biggest names in combat sports have competed in the UAE capital, including former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who defended his title multiple times in Abu Dhabi, along with former two-weight world champion Conor McGregor, former middleweight champion and No.1 contender Israel Adesanya, and many others. Over the term of the original deal, nine title fights have taken place showcasing top-tier global talent, entertaining viewers all over the world and growing the sport of MMA across the MENA region.

“Bringing UFC to Abu Dhabi each year has proved hugely popular, with MMA fans coming to the emirate from all over the world to watch the biggest and best fights in the sport,” said HE Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi. “Over a 15-year relationship, UFC has extended its global reach and Abu Dhabi has established itself as a world capital for combat sports. Renewing our partnership with UFC allows us to continue to stage major events that thrill visitors and residents. We are excited to extend the relationship and innovate together to grow this sport in the UAE and wider region.”

UFC CEO, Dana White commented: “Abu Dhabi is one of my favourite places in the world; the people, the restaurants, the hotels, it’s incredible. I have been so excited to be able to put on some of the biggest fights in the history of UFC in Abu Dhabi and it’s only going to get even bigger from here with additional Fight Nights coming to the region next year. I love it here.”

Since 2010, UFC events have brought thousands of fight fans to Abu Dhabi and showcased UFC and the emirate to a global TV audience within UFC’s broadcast footprint of more than 900 million homes across more than 170 countries.

That partnership was deepened further as Abu Dhabi hosted three separate series of Fight Island events during the Covid-19 pandemic. At a time when sport around the world was shutting down, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island was transformed to create a safe and secure location for international athletes to compete. The events became a global sporting phenomena and example to other sporting organisations and host cities around the world.

The announcement comes ahead of the sold-out UFC 294: MAKHACHEV VS VOLKANOVSKI 2 set to take place on Saturday, October 21, at the state-of-the-art Etihad Arena on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Last year, a sold-out crowd witnessed Islam Makhachev become the lightweight champion when he defeated Charles Oliveira via second round stoppage at UFC 280. In the co-main event, fan favourite and UAE resident Khamzat Chimaev will make his middleweight debut as he faces his toughest test to date in Kamaru Usman in a bout that is guaranteed to deliver fireworks inside the Octagon.

In addition to the championship event, fans have been enjoying a week-long celebration of MMA as Abu Dhabi Showdown Week returned bigger than ever this year to take over the city, including UFC Fan Experiences, concerts, comedy shows, and much more.

Abu Dhabi has a proven track record of hosting major global sports and adrenaline-driven competitions and events. The destination provides seamless connectivity, world-leading infrastructure, and a wide range of attractions and activities which cater to visitors of all tastes. The emirate’s transformation into a global centre for sport is fully supported by Abu Dhabi Government entities in cooperation with private sector partners.

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Staff Report