UFC Fight Island shows Abu Dhabi is ready for global tourism, says DCT chairman

Published: 20 September 2020 - 10:45 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Following the news a second UFC Fight Island will be coming to the UAE capital later this month, organisers have said the event amplifies Abu Dhabi’s readiness for global tourism revival efforts.

Unlike neighbouring Dubai, Abu Dhabi authorities have opted to focus on domestic travel and tourism over the summer, keeping the doors shut to international travellers. Abu Dhabi updated border regulations for international travellers this September, compared to Dubai reopening in July.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) explained that UFC Fight Island shows Abu Dhabi’s ability to host major international events, in turn boosting travel sentiment to the Arab city.

“UFC Fight Island proved to be a tremendous success and its rapid return is testament to the strength of our partnership with UFC, and the global confidence in Abu Dhabi's ability and preparedness to host major international events with the highest standards of health and safety,” said His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.

“The Return to UFC Fight Island concept underlines both Abu Dhabi’s commitment to global sporting and tourism events as well as the collaborative approach taken by various government departments to ensure the emirate is ready to safely welcome back visitors, business and more major international events across multiple sectors,” he added.

Running from September 26 to October 24, the sporting event will turn Yas Island into a ‘bubble’ for UFC participants and staff. The Island’s facilities will be closed to the general public to ensure the safety of all the fighters, who will be the only ones able to stay in the area’s hotels.

The safe zone extends to the arena, hotels, training facilities, entertainment and F&B facilities.

Hailing these facilities, UFC president Dana White said: “UFC Fight Island was a massive success in every way that you can measure success. While the rest of the world shut down, we worked with our partners in Abu Dhabi to put on the best live sporting experience, and we did it safely and responsibly.

"The infrastructure they have in place, from the arena, to the hotels, to the restaurants, is second to none, and we’re excited to be going back. Return to UFC Fight Island will showcase some of the best fights of the year, including one that I’ve predicted has ‘Fight of the Year’ potential. This stretch of fights is going to be insane and I can’t wait.”

The headliner event of Fight Island will be on the final day where Khabib Nurmagomedov faces off against Justin Gaethje.

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