The UFC has been making itself quite at home with their recent events in Abu Dhabi. Now Dana White says the promotion is looking to have a much longer lasting relationship in the Middle East.
When life was somewhat forced to a halt because of a global pandemic, the UFC was the first sports organization to return to hosting events, a fact that White will not let you forget. This was in large part due to the help of Abu Dhabi, who has allowed the promotion to hold events on Yas Island, paying for the construction of facilities, room and board, and covering the safety protocols to avoid COVID-19 exposure. This has left the UFC able to host several cards there, even going back for a second round of bouts on Fight Island.
Dana White Wants A Performance Institute In Abu Dhabi
It would appear that Dana White is quite happy with the arrangements that have been made on Yas Island. In fact, speaking with ESPN he explained how much he has loved his time in Abu Dhabi, gushing over how safe they are. Furthermore he says the UFC has been in talks about constructing a UFC Performance Institute there, as well as some offices.
“I believe Abu Dhabi is going to have fans (in attendance) before anyone else does,” White said. “There’s so all over this thing and have been since the beginning. This really, if you look at it, this is the fight capital of the world right now. The fights that are going down over here in 2020, and the infrastructure that is here and all the cool things to do, I think fans are going to flock here as soon as this thing opens back up here and we put on another event in 2021.
“I’ve been in business with these guys for over a decade. We’re talking about building a PI out here right now, and when we do that we’ll build some offices too, that are a part of the PI. So yeah, this isn’t anything that is short term. We’re going to be doing a lot of things over here in Abu Dhabi, and we will definitely have a home base here,” Dana White continued. “I’m telling you Abu Dhabi, this place is going to be first. These guys are smart and progressive. They know what they’re doing. Everything here is over the top unbelievable. I think a lot of people, especially Americans, are a little afraid of coming to the Middle East. Let me tell you what, Abu Dhabi is a million times safer than America right now, I can tell you that. Safer than Las Vegas, safer than California, safer than any of these major cities in America. It’s actually really nice, during this time, to be here.”
In terms of health and safety protocols during the pandemic, Dana White is correct in that it seems Abu Dhabi is safer than America right now. On the other hand, there are a lot of atrocities that happen in that region of the world, concerning human rights. Nevertheless it seems that the UFC is more than willing to put that aside in order to make money.