The UFC has inked a five-year deal with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism to bring championship fights to the Middle East starting with UFC 242 on Sept. 7.
The new deal was announced late Sunday night.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “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.
“I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”
As part of the deal to bring the UFC back to Abu Dhabi, the organization promises to promote at least one championship fight on every card taking place in the country.
The UFC has held cards in Abu Dhabi previously with the last show taking place there in 2014. Previously, Flash Entertainment, an Abu Dhabi based company, had previously bought an ownership stake in the UFC when the company first committed to bringing cards there several years ago.
What resulted was the UFC promoting two shows — one pay-per-view and a Fight Night event — before Endeavor (the current parent company to the UFC) bought outo Flash Entertainment from their minority shares in the company.
Now the UFC will be going back to Abu Dhabi for the first time in five years with the card in September.
While nothing has been determined at this time, it’s expected that Khabib Nurmagomedov will battle Dustin Poirier in a lightweight title unification bout as the main event in the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi. Nurmagomedov had previously mentioned fighting in Abu Dhabi in September and Poirier has already said he’s more than happy to compete on that date.
Now it’s just a matter of getting a deal done but at least one piece of the puzzle is in place with the UFC officially returning to Abu Dhabi for UFC 242 in September.