The Ultimate Fighting Championship recently sold ten percent of their company to Flash Entertainment, an Abu Dhabi-based company that puts on live events. This minority stake sale was the impetus for holding Saturday’s “UFC 112: Invincible” event in Abu Dhabi.
In addition to garnering a partnership that will presumably help the UFC to expand into new international markets, the front-running MMA organization also gained partners willing to build entire arenas in order to accommodate their shows.
Construction of the custom arena began on Sunday, March 21st; it is located outside of the Ferrari World amusement park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The arena seats around 10,000 and was impressively completed in time for this Saturday’s fight.
Despite the prompt manner in which the hopefully well-constructed arena was erected, UFC president Dana White has some concerns.
“The thing that I am a little nervous about, it is the first time we have ever done an outdoor stadium,” White said during an interview on The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo. “Obviously it is not going to rain in Abu Dhabi, but the wind does pick up there some times and it can get dusty and sandy so hopefully that doesn’t happen.”
The arena being open-air was not a surprise; UFC 112 was planned from the beginning to be an outdoor show. White and company believe Abu Dhabi to have a conducive climate to an outdoor show; mainly meaning that it is warm and the likelihood of precipitation is very slim. But, as White said, wind-carried dust could be a problem if it interferes with the fighters’ ability to see or breath. Unfortunately, should the wind pick up on Saturday, there is currently no method to cope with it besides good old-fashioned superstition.
“There’s nothing we can do to protect against the wind if that happens, so I’m crossing my fingers,” said White.
Perhaps someone should buy Mr. White a rabbit’s foot for good measure.