Yas Island in Abu Dhabi has been confirmed as host for the upcoming Fight Island event from UFC.
The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) confirmed the showcase would be hosted in the popular leisure, shopping and entertainment destination next month.
UFC will produce four events on Yas Island, including one pay-per-view show - UFC 251 - and three fight nights.
The action-packed schedule begins with UFC 251 on Saturday, July 11th, and will be followed with successive fight night events to be held on Wednesday, July 15th; Saturday, July 18th; and Saturday, July 25th.
Details for each event, including fight cards, will be announced in coming weeks.
To accommodate existing public health guidelines, DCT Abu Dhabi will create a safety zone within the nearly ten square mile Yas Island that will include an arena, hotel, training facilities and dining establishments.
This safety zone will only be open to UFC athletes and their coaches; UFC staff and other event personnel; and Yas Island employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Our partnership with the UFC, now in its second year, has proved to be one of our most successful ventures in recent years.
“Thanks to their commitment and cooperation, we are proud to announce that Abu Dhabi will host the first ever Fight Island event, marking the long-awaited return of UFC fights to the global stage.”
He added: “We have worked closely with all government entities in Abu Dhabi to ensure that the staging of this historic event complies with the highest standards of safety for the athletes, coaches, and all UFC personnel as well as the safety of our community.
“This year, Abu Dhabi has successfully proven its ability to handle all challenges and promote the well-being of its visitors and residents; and today, we are here to showcase the best that our capital has to offer, as we look forward to opening our doors once again to the world.”
In 2019, UFC and DCT Abu Dhabi entered into a ground-breaking five-year partnership to bring UFC events to the emirate.
UFC 242: Khabib Vs. Poirier, the first event held under the new agreement, attracted more than 14,000 fans to Yas Island last September.
The agreement to bring UFC Fight Island to Abu Dhabi is an expansion of the original five-year partnership between UFC and DCT Abu Dhabi.
UFC president, Dana White, commented: “We came up with the idea of having fights on ‘Fight Island’ because we needed a destination to hold international events during the global pandemic.
“Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events.
“The infrastructure we are building will be such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the fighters that’s never been done before – from the arena, the private training facility and the Octagon on the island – it’s going to be an experience that none of us will ever forget.
“I can’t wait to deliver amazing fights from Yas island.”
UFC Fight Island events will air live on global broadcasters around the world and on pay-per-view in select markets.
UFC events are broadcast in 172 countries and territories in 40 different languages and reach approximately one billion TV households.
In the UAE and throughout the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, UFC content is streamed on UFC Arabia app, UFC’s first Arabic-language streaming subscription service in the region.
Yas Island is one of the fastest growing leisure and entertainment destinations in the world, located on the golden shores of Abu Dhabi - just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai.
Yas Island offers holiday makers a diverse mix of award-winning leisure and entertainment experiences, from one-of-a-kind theme parks, world-class shopping and superb dining, to a links golf course, exciting water and motor sports, and the most enjoyable musical and family events all within the 25 square kilometre island.
Commenting on the news, Faiek El Saadani, general manager of W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, said: “The announcement of the much-anticipated UFC Fight Island events to be held on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island through the month of July, brings positivity among times that have been challenging for all of us.
“The coming of this international sporting event to Yas Island will help renew consumer confidence and give an impetus to travel into Yas Island in particular and Abu Dhabi in general.
“As global travel restrictions lift, I am confident that Abu Dhabi will emerge as a preferred travel and events destination.
“This is good news for hotels on the island and we will be waiting to welcome our guests when the time comes!”
Today, Yas Island is home to: the recently opened Clymb Abu Dhabi, award-winning theme parks Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Circuit (home to the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina and Yas Links golf course.
Showcasing the success of the destination, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is considered the World’s Leading Theme Park by the World Travel Awards, while Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi are considered the World’s Leading Water Park and Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction respectively.
Also on hand are Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, more than 160 dining experiences, seven hotels, and indoor and outdoor concert venues - all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is the centrepiece of the hospitality offering in the destination
If that were not enough, Abu Dhabi-based developer Miral is considering further developments on Yas Island, which is only 55 per cent complete.
They are looking beyond the development of the first SeaWorld Entertainment attraction in the Arabian Gulf, planning to open in 2022.
It will be the first SeaWorld without Orca Whales.
The developer has also partnered with Sportainment Entertainment & Sports and Feld Entertainment to host events and live shows at the Yas Bay Arena, the new indoor venue which is scheduled to open later this year.
The island is also set to add 800 new hotel rooms by 2021, including 550 this year with the opening of Hilton and 250 rooms in the new Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, has been instrumental in bringing UFC to the emirate
The Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi 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 that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike.
The department 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 the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
The department supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage.
A key role played by the department is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.