After the huge success of their first run of events at “UFC Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, the UFC will return to Yas Island for a second run of shows in the region, UFC president Dana White confirmed.
The UFC ran four events in 15 days in July, including the UFC 251 pay-per-view event, as they operated within a huge bubble environment set up on Yas Island that featured extensive COVID-19 testing, a quarantine period and chartered flights to jet the fighters and their teams to the region.
The success of the four-event run was hailed by fighters and media alike, and White is excited at the prospect of returning to the UAE later this year.
“By the end of August, I’ll have done 22 (events),” he told TMZ Sports.
“We’ve got the Contender Series coming up, plus the other fights that we have in August. Like I said, I can only do so many here without doing international fights, because we are a global business, so probably September or October.
“Everybody wants to go there. Octagon girls want to go there, everyone wants to go! We’re working on fights right now for the next run. Obviously the big international stars will fight over there. S*it, this next trip over there, I’ll probably end up being there for five weeks.”
White also stated that the success of the UFC’s “Fight Island” events on Yas Island will quickly help turn the region into the must-visit attraction for MMA fans once the world’s travel restrictions start to open up again.
“I’m telling you right now, Abu Dhabi is going to become the fight capital of the world,” White enthused.
“The stuff that we’re doing over there, the infrastructure that’s already been built, the stuff that we’re talking about doing. This place is going to be a destination.
“If you are a fight fan, everybody wants to come to ‘Fight Island,’ man. You know why? Because it’s f**king cool! It’s fun and it’s a really unique experience right now with all this weirdness that’s going on around the world.”
And White also revealed the euphoria he and his team at the UFC felt once they had completed their first run in Abu Dhabi.
“You’ve gotta get that first run under your belt, and then it felt like, ‘We did it!'” he said.
“It couldn’t have worked out better.”