UFC fighters Chuck Liddell, left, and Mauricio Rua as they square off at a news conference in Montreal in April to promote an upcoming light heavyweight fight. Dana White, centre, is the man responsible for reviving the sport and propelling it to new heights.
UFC fighters Chuck Liddell, left, and Mauricio Rua as they square off at a news conference in Montreal in April to promote an upcoming light heavyweight fight. Dana White, centre, is the man responsibShow more

Abu Dhabi in sight for UFC



ABU DHABI // The Ultimate Fighting Championship is a global sporting phenomenon, and mixed martial arts (MMA) fans in the Emirates could be about to benefit with a major event in the country. Dana White, president of the UFC, is in the country and holding an event here is high on his agenda. "I don't like to talk about things unless they are going to happen or make predictions, but I'm pretty confident we can get something done here," he said.

"Without extending myself too far out there, I think it's very likely to happen." The UFC has evolved from no-holds-barred grudge matches - pitting masters of specific fighting styles against artisans of opposing techniques - into a multi-million dollar form of MMA, firmly established as the biggest pay-per-view draw in the United States. After convincing childhood friends Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta to purchase the ailing franchise for $2million (Dh7.3m) in January 2001, White has overseen the largest commercial transformation of any sport worldwide.

Persuading two Las Vegas casino owners to open their cheque books and install him as their purchase's public face was only White's first master-stroke. The next was incorporating audience-friendly rules, creating weight division classifications and introducing corporate sponsors for fighters. While White's stewardship has reshaped the UFC's destiny, his next move will define its long-term international success. "The difference between now and nine years ago is our track record of safety and success - it's only going to get better," said White.

"The first nine years were the hardest, the next nine years are going to be a lot easier." Falling after a gap of every five to six weeks, the UFC bills - featuring big-name fighters - have opened up lucrative television deals in new, revenue-generating markets driving the sport's popularity. Restricting events to the United States would not appease a burgeoning international fan-base forever; the sport needs to be as international as its fighters. Events have been held in the United Kingdom and Germany - Australia is next on the list.

Abu Dhabi's UFC fans could soon be the next step of the global expansion strategy as is evident by the fact that White is here four days ahead of the next billing - UFC 101 in Philadelphia. "Things are booming here, Abu Dhabi is growing and looking for new events. All these event centres are being built and we'd love to bring the UFC here," he said. "I didn't fly over here for nothing - I didn't come here the week of an event because I didn't think good things were happening," White said."Abu Dhabi is an amazing, hip new city which is run by visionaries. I don't think we are going to have any problem putting on events here."

His attraction to the emirate is not simply one of financial proportions. He is all too aware of UFC's aversion to neutrals and knows unearthed audiences need education into the sport, its fighters and its format - time-burning and cash-costing nuisances. That is why Abu Dhabi has the jump on other potential hosts. "There is always an education factor in the UFC," said White citing the example of wrestling, another form of MMA, that has been held in Abu Dhabi since 1998.

"When we go into new countries we have to educate people about what the sport is, but Abu Dhabi's annual Submission World Championship has been around since before the UFC." White has spent the last eight years turning his life's biggest risk into a profit-driven juggernaut. The joint UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta left his casino business to devote his energy to the cause. Rewards are reaped from such risks. Indeed, as Muhammad Ali once said: "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

Mr UFC remains walking proof of the 'Greatest's' sentiments. emegson@thenational.ae

SERIES INFO

Schedule:
All matches at the Harare Sports Club
1st ODI, Wed Apr 10
2nd ODI, Fri Apr 12
3rd ODI, Sun Apr 14
4th ODI, Sun Apr 16

UAE squad
Mohammed Naveed (captain), Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Usman, CP Rizwan, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Sultan Ahmed, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

Zimbabwe squad
Peter Moor (captain), Solomon Mire, Brian Chari, Regis Chakabva, Sean Williams, Timycen Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Craig Ervine, Brandon Mavuta, Ainsley Ndlovu, Tony Munyonga, Elton Chigumbura

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

Last-16

France 4
Griezmann (13' pen), Pavard (57'), Mbappe (64', 68')

Argentina 3
Di Maria (41'), Mercado (48'), Aguero (90+3')

Generational responses to the pandemic

Devesh Mamtani from Century Financial believes the cash-hoarding tendency of each generation is influenced by what stage of the employment cycle they are in. He offers the following insights:

Baby boomers (those born before 1964): Owing to market uncertainty and the need to survive amid competition, many in this generation are looking for options to hoard more cash and increase their overall savings/investments towards risk-free assets.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980): Gen X is currently in its prime working years. With their personal and family finances taking a hit, Generation X is looking at multiple options, including taking out short-term loan facilities with competitive interest rates instead of dipping into their savings account.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996): This market situation is giving them a valuable lesson about investing early. Many millennials who had previously not saved or invested are looking to start doing so now.

How to help

Call the hotline on 0502955999 or send "thenational" to the following numbers:

2289 - Dh10

2252 - Dh50

6025 - Dh20

6027 - Dh100

6026 - Dh200


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