UFC president Dana White was on Friday presented with a UAE golden visa by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.
The American, who has overseen the burgeoning relationship between the capital and the world’s lead mixed martial arts organisation, was given the distinction backstage at Etihad Arena before the ceremonial weigh-in for UFC 267, which takes place on Saturday. The fight night features two title bouts.
The UFC has expanded its footprint in Abu Dhabi markedly during the past three years in particular having first staged an event there in 2010. In 2019, the same year the 10-year golden visa was introduced, the promotion signed a five-year partnership with DCT-Abu Dhabi designed initially to hold one major event in the capital each year through to 2023.
However, last year Abu Dhabi provided the setting for the inaugural UFC Fight Island, created by White to allow the promotion's international athletes to compete during the coronavirus pandemic. There have since been two more Fight Island residencies, most recently in January. In all, the entire series has comprised 12 events.
The UAE’s golden visa is a government scheme initiated two years ago by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. The visa offers 10-year residency on a renewable basis.