The UAE successfully hosted its first large-scale event, UFC Fight
Island, which welcomed 2,500 people into a Covid-19-free bubble over
five weeks, paving the way for the return of events in coming months,
including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
Overseen by The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT
Abu Dhabi), the high-profile event blocked out 11km on the manmade Yas
Island to form a ‘safe zone’ – locking off thousands who had gathered
to watch the fights and keeping them separated from the rest of the
Safe within this zone, the high-profile event went on across the Yas
Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand
Prix, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Beach, and the Flash Forum, a
multi-purpose indoor venue where the fights were staged.
Over these five weeks, health and safety procedures under the state’s
“Go Safe” certification programme were also strictly undertaken,
including Covid-19 testing every 72hrs and 14-day isolation periods. In
this Covid-free bubble, all involved UFC personnel from 35 nations,
event and island staff were put up in prime hotels, surrounded by top
entertainment options – making it possible to carry forward the event
while keeping everyone safe.
“We are extremely proud of the DCT Abu Dhabi-led ‘safe zone’ concept,
which enabled us to deliver a comfortable and Covid-19-free bubble for
five weeks, cementing Abu Dhabi’s position as a safe global destination
offering diverse experiences,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive
director of tourism and marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi.
Calling UFC Fight Island “one of the most incredible experiences of
my 30 years in the business,” Dana White, UFC President said: “We came
up with the idea of having fights on ‘Fight Island’ because we needed a
destination to hold international events during the global pandemic.
Looking to the future, Abu Dhabi has plans to create similar event
‘safe zones’, which include the du Arena, an open-air venue famous for
international music concerts, and the Etihad Arena, set to be the
region’s largest multi-purpose indoor arena with a seating capacity of
Upcoming events to test this ‘safe zone’ concept include the annual
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of 2020, which will take place within
the current ‘safe zone’ perimeter on Yas Island.
“Our partnership with UFC Fight Island has allowed us to innovate in
setting a new benchmark in creating experiences for the public despite
the recent circumstances caused by the pandemic," Al Shaiba added. "The
lessons we have learned from this event will be carried forward as we
continue to create new engaging experiences in a post-Covid world, but
at the same time take lessons we can use in other areas of events and