It's never been a secret of the UFC that taking the organization international is a top priority. We saw this ambition go into action at UFC 70 and the list of countries has continued to grow. The organization's most recent endeavour? That would be UFC 112, which will be landing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Though UFC 70, which was held in Manchester, England, wasn't the first time one of their events took place outside of the U.S., those that had taken place before-UFC 8, Ultimate Japan 1, Ultimate Brazil, UFC 23, 25, and 29-were more attempts to abandon negative reactions from politicians and state commissions that had yet to accept, or even grasp for that matter, mixed martial arts as a legitimate sport.
Six years after its last event away from U.S. soil in Tokyo, the UFC tried its hand at the United Kingdom. The first ever event held in England in 2007 was a chance for the UFC to spread its popularity that had already been booming in the U.S. to a much broader audience. It was also an opportunity for UK-bred fighters to enter the Octagon on their own turf-Michael Bisping, Terry Etim, David Lee, and Paul Taylor all got this chance at UFC 70.
Considering that over the next two years the UFC would hold seven more events in the UK, it is probably safe to assume that UFC 70 went down as a success in Zuffa's books, in terms of ratings and live turnout. With these international achievements under its belt, another card was held in Canada in 2009, and they even took a stab at Germany with UFC 99.
Canada saw five of its own in the Octagon at UFC 97, with Jason MacDonald, David Loiseau, Mark Bocek, TJ Grant, and Sam Stout gracing the card. Even Krzysztof Soszynski, who was born in Poland and moved to Canada at an early age where he was raised, fought that night.
Most recently, UFC 110 was held in Australia. On the night's card, George Sotiropoulos of TUF 6-born in Geelong Victoria, Australia-took on Joe Stevenson. Sotiropoulos met raging applause as he walked out to the Octagon and pulled out a unanimous decision over his opponent, adding to the arena's excitement.
Now, after dabbling in Europe, Canada and Australia, the UFC will venture to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for UFC 112 on April 10. Why Abu Dhabi? Well recently, the live events organization Flash Entertainment acquired a ten percent stake in Zuffa, LLC, and as you may have guessed by now, Abu Dhabi is its hometown.
But that's not the only surprise this upcoming event is bringing to the table. In addition to being held in a country yet to be explored by the UFC, the action of the night will unfold outside, in an open-air arena! Of course, the double main event doesn't hurt in you getting your money's worth either. With a notably stacked card, including Anderson Silva versus Vitor Belfort, BJ Penn versus Frankie Edgar, and Matt Hughes versus Renzo Gracie, this event will undoubtedly hail as one of the most anticipated among UFC's ever-growing list.
Make sure to mark UFC 112 on your calendar, you don't want to miss what is likely to go down as one of the best events in UFC history.
Check out this press release for all the details on this event.
Photo Source: UFC