UAE Warriors has been nominated in the Best Promotion category alongside other leading companies including the UFC and Bellator in the annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards.
It is the first time the Abu Dhabi-based promotion has been selected for an international award which also includes Legacy Fighting Alliance and Brave Combat Federation on the shortlist.
Mixed martial arts was one of the few sports to continue in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.
UAE Warriors successfully staged 10 events during the crisis, which included flying in a number of overseas fighters all while adhering to the country's Covid-19 safety measures.
“We have been nominated as one of the best promotions especially for our commitment to the game during the coronavirus pandemic,” Fouad Darwish, managing director of Palms Sports that manages the UAE Warriors, told The National.
“We were able to complete 10 successful events during this period. Not only that, we were able to bring fighters from 43 countries during the pandemic.
“The fact we have been nominated for an award in itself is a recognition of our abilities, dedication, strategies, deployment of our fighters and the talent pool we have gathered.
“To add to this, more than 15 of our fighters have been signed by UFC, Bellator or Titan. There is not a month that we don’t see one of our fighters going to a bigger MMA organisation.”
UAE Warriors began under the banner of Abu Dhabi Warriors in 2012 but held only four fight cards in six years before Palm Sports took over the promotion in 2019.
Since then the promotion has grown into one of the region's most productive launchpads for fighters looking to climb the MMA ladder.
“We did start with an ambition to become a regional organisation but today we are seen by many as an international pool of talent we have assembled in such a short period of time,” Darwish said.
“At the time of our taking over the promotion, we never thought Palms Sports would be able to convert the UAE Warriors into a world organisation. And here we are.”
Other award categories include 'Fighter of the Year', 'Knockout of the Year', 'Fight of the Year’, and the recently added ‘Fighting Spirit Award.’
Fighters Only magazine gives fight fans the power to vote for their favorite fighters, which knockout and submissions amazed and shocked, and which nominees impressed them the most over the past year to determine who takes home a World MMA Award.
Fans can cast their votes at worldmmaawards.com. Voting concludes on September 8.
The venue and the date for the annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.