The organizers have confirmed that the fight card will be announced within the next two months for UFC 242 to be held in Abu Dhabi in September.
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced Monday that they have signed a five-year partnership with the world’s leading mixed martial arts campaign. The deal guarantees that the championship fights will take place in the capital, which has previously hosted the UFC twice, at 23 and 20.
A lightweight title fight has sparked a fight between Russian star Khabiv Nurmagomedov and American Dustin Poiria, but organizers have told The National that details of the fight card have yet to be finalized.
“I’ve heard a lot of rumors, but nothing has been confirmed yet,” said Ali Al Shaiba, executive director of marketing and communications for DCT Abu Dhabi. “We are still waiting to finalize it. I can assure you before July you will hear something from us. ”
Asked if he had a discussion with Nurmagomedov, Al-Shaiba replied: “It’s all with the UFC, it’s not with us.”
Nurmagomedov, one of the most popular fighters in the game, has not competed since the final controversial win over Connor McGregor in Ireland last October, when Nurmagomedov was given a nine-month ban following a post-war fight.
The unbeaten fighter, 1, 2 boasts a perfect record of 2w wins from 2 professional fights, representing the longest unbeaten streak in MMA.
Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, traveled to the United Arab Emirates shortly after clashing with McGregor at Al Wahdar Al Nahyan Stadium. Nurmagomedov faces Porir Poole after winning the Interim Championship on April 8th.
Asked earlier this month whether the rumors of a UAE war were true, Nurmagomedov said: “Yes, we are working on it. The UFC has told me they are working on it. I have just returned from Dubai. The news is coming very soon.” Soon. ”
In the meantime, UFC 242’s venue still has a decision to make. According to DCT Abu Dhabi, depending on the time of year, the event will likely be held indoors and may require specially constructed arenas. While UFC events typically attract an audience of between 6,000 and 12.4 people, DCT Abu Dhabi imagines that they will provide a “unique venue” that can hold up to 16,000.
“It’s going to be a festival – it’s not just a fight,” said Al-Shaiba. “It’s a whole week’s work all over town. A lot of things happen to us: exhibitions, seminars, some other activities, there’s a concert happening
“So this is not just a fight, it will be a big festival for Abu Dhabi. So we have not decided on a location yet. We wanted a place that could host all the places in one place.”
Al Shaiba said that after more than a year of talks with the UFC, it was always a clear choice to bring the famous MMA organization back to the Emirates.
“If you also watch that game as entertainment, you will see it is growing very fast,” he said. “Our research shows that we are UFC fans, about 12 percent of the UAE population. It in itself makes us more interested in bringing this fight here.
“Also, if you notice the value of media and broadcasting, it makes sense for us to be one of the marketing channels we use to find and promote destinations in Abu Dhabi. Looking at the fans, how they travel to attend these types of events, it is quite likely for us.
“And this is a mutual interest for the UFC. They wanted a place that was centered between East and West and they see Abu Dhabi as a great place to do the show. ”
In a statement on Monday, UFC President Dana White said: “We are making long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market. The demand from our fans to bring the UFC back to Abu Dhabi is overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us fight some spectacular UFC championships in the UAE.
“I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the sport and the UFC in this area.”