The UFC has inked a five-year deal with the Abu Dhabi
Department of Culture and Tourism to bring championship fights to the Middle
East starting with UFC 242 on Sept. 7.
The new deal was announced late Sunday night.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because
we have had great success in that market,” UFC President Dana White said in a
statement. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been
overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver
some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE.
“I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will
mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”
As part of the deal to bring the UFC back to Abu Dhabi, the organization
promises to promote at least one championship fight on every card taking place
in the country.
The UFC has held cards in Abu Dhabi previously with the last
show taking place there in 2014. Previously, Flash Entertainment, an Abu Dhabi
based company, had previously bought an ownership stake in the UFC when the
company first committed to bringing cards there several years ago.
What resulted was the UFC promoting two shows — one
pay-per-view and a Fight Night event — before Endeavor (the current parent company
to the UFC) bought outo Flash Entertainment from their minority shares in the
Now the UFC will be going back to Abu Dhabi for the first
time in five years with the card in September.
While nothing has been determined at this time, it’s
expected that Khabib Nurmagomedov will battle Dustin Poirier in a lightweight
title unification bout as the main event in the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov had previously mentioned fighting in Abu Dhabi in September and Poirier
has already said he’s more than happy to compete on that date.
Now it’s just a matter of getting a deal done but at least
one piece of the puzzle is in place with the UFC officially returning to Abu
Dhabi for UFC 242 in September.