UFC returns to Abu Dhabi with UFC 242 on September 7 - possibly featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier as headline
UFC, the multi-billion dollar mixed martial arts organisation, has signed deal with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) to bring UFC events to the emirate for the next five years.
The first event is UFC 242 on Saturday, September 7, and while no headline act has been announced, "the card will be headlined by at least one championship fight", UFC said in a statement. The event will be hosted at Du Arena on Yas Island.
It's widely believed the first Abu Dhabi fight of the new deal will feature Russian UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov making his return from suspension, following his win over Conor McGregor last October in Las Vegas.
The contest against McGregor was marred by a massive post-fight ringside brawl. In January, the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Nurmagomedov nine-month suspension and a $500,000 fine.
Nurmagomedov, set to return to action in Septmeber, could be set to fight against American interim champion Dustin Poirier, following his surprise win against Max Holloway.
UFC 242 will be the first of many fights to be held in Abu Dhabi, and marks a return to the emirates for UFC, following the last event in 2014.
Events hosted in Abu Dhabi will air live on global broadcasters around the world and on Pay-Per-View in select markets. Each of the fight nights held in Abu Dhabi will be headlined by at least one championship fight over the course of the partnership.
"UFC will become a key component of Abu Dhabi’s thriving events calendar for the next five years, which is already packed full of not only great sporting events, but also cultural, arts and entertainment offerings as well," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi.
UFC President Dana White, added, "We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market. The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE.”
UFC 242 will be the culmination of a week-long series of activities available to fans that travel from around the world and converge on Abu Dhabi for the event.
Fans will be treated to a UFC fight week that will include open workouts, weigh-ins, press conferences and live entertainment.