Newsletter 01/2021

AusBG News

UFC - Fight Week


FIGHT ISLAND — The world-leading mixed martial arts competition UFC returned to Abu Dhabi for its third Fight Island-branded festival with a triple header fight week on January 16, 20 and 24. For the first time since the pandemic restrictions, fight fans were able to attend and enjoy a live event experience, with previous fight nights throughout 2020 held behind-closed-doors at the purpose-built Flash Forum on Yas Island.

Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi’s newest entertainment landmark officially opened its doors to spectators for the highly anticipated UFC 3.0, including UFC257 and the return of the Notorious Conor McGregor. In a rematch 6 1/2 years in the making, Poirier stunned Conor McGregor with a second-round TKO in the main event of UFC 257 early Sunday morning.

UFC Fight Week on Yas Island started with Holloway vs. Kattar and a limited number of fans were allowed inside the newly built Etihad Arena, marking the first time since UFC 248 in March 2020 that non-essential event personnel were in attendance. The venue has maximum capacity of 18,000, but the UFC and Etihad Arena kept the cap at 10% capacity with 2,000 fans at each fight night to always ensure a two-metre distance between spectators.

ARGA was proud to collaborate with many great project partners in being able to bring back events safely and responsibly, a true testament to the leadership of Abu Dhabi. Partners included The Department of Culture & Tourism, Miral, Etihad Arena and Flash Entertainment.

The ARGA Team, with 75 Operational Staff working over 17 consecutive project days managed the UFC VIP Liaison and movements of UFC Delegations, International Media, Athletes and their teams, Production Teams and all UFC Staff. Scope also included Yas Island Key Stakeholder Management, Traffic & Crowd Control on Yas Island, while maintaining the Safe Zones between the respective Yas Hotels and Etihad Arena to ensure the highest levels of safety for both athletes, guests and operational staff. In order to receive official accreditation for each of the three fight nights, all operational staff were required to complete an on-site PCR test every 48 hours at a purpose-built COVID-19 testing centre on Yas Island.

The UFC257 pay-per-view eclipsed 1.5 million viewers, placing it in the top three UFC events of all time and reinforcing Abu Dhabi, most notably Yas Island as the haven for international sporting events moving forward.

Together with the Event & Entertainment Community, we hope UFC Fight Week signifies a safe return to the excitement of live events in Abu Dhabi which we all missed in 2020! With world-class health & safety measures, a sound covid-19 prevention strategy and a robust, yet flexible operational planning and delivery methods, we are very confident that Abu Dhabi is leading the way in global event examples – we are very proud to be a part of this challenging, yet very rewarding journey to bring back the excitement of live events with the energy of live audiences.

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