Abu Dhabi to host two UFC events in 2024 with Fight Night added to schedule

Additional event takes place in August at Etihad Arena as well as traditional pay-per-view show in October

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Abu Dhabi will host two UFC events this year, with a Fight Night to take place this summer before its traditional pay-per-view show in October.

The UFC announced on Wednesday the additional event for August 3, which will take place at Etihad Arena. The Fight Night will represent the organisation’s 19th event held in the emirate since debuting there in 2010.

In a statement, UFC CEO Dana White said: “Abu Dhabi is one of the most incredible cities in the world. I love everything about Abu Dhabi, and I’m excited to bring another epic event.

“Abu Dhabi is an amazing destination, especially if you are a fight fan. I tell everyone to fly in early, check out the amazing food and experiences Abu Dhabi has to offer, and then end the trip with incredible fights.”

The accompanying press release said the fight card was “soon to be announced”, adding that it will "see international and local talent enter the octagon for a must-see spectacle, featuring a number of the sport’s most talented athletes”.

The new event means the UFC will stage three events in the Gulf this year, with the promotion holding an inaugural Fight Night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on June 22 – part of the partnership extension signed last October between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the UFC.

The agreement, which runs until 2028, guarantees one numbered UFC event to be held in the UAE capital each year, with additional Fight Nights to take place “across the Mena region” as part of the deal.

The UFC’s most recent visit to Abu Dhabi came last October, when UFC 294 was headlined by lightweight champion Islam Makhachev’s knockout victory against Alexander Volkanovski at Etihad Arena.

On Wednesday, Saleh Al Geziry, director general for tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, said in a statement: “Hosting Abu Dhabi’s first-ever UFC Fight Night is a major milestone in our ongoing partnership. Some of the most iconic moments in UFC history have taken place during epic Fight Nights - and we are excited to create more spectacular memories for MMA fans.

“As our UFC partnership evolves, we will deliver unforgettable experiences for fans across the region and the millions watching around the world.”

In 2020, Abu Dhabi hosted the historic Fight Island series that allowed the UFC to stage events during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fight Island featured some of the sport’s most prominent names, including former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, former two-division belt-holder Conor McGregor, and former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Updated: March 07, 2024, 2:43 AM