x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship will promote capital, say organisers

The general secretary of the UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation says TV interest and promoting Olympic events with a difference will benefit the Emirate.

ABU DHABI // In the wake of Saturday's epic UFC championship, a bloodsport of a different sort is on its way to the capital. The Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship is set to be inaugurated as the region's premier mixed martial arts (MMA) event on May 14 featuring fighting styles ranging from jiu jitsu to wushu and a prize purse of Dh1 million for the taking. "This event is staged for two reasons," said Nasser al Tamimi, the general secretary of the UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation, one of the key organisations backing the event in the capital city.

"We are trying to promote judo, wrestling and boxing as potential Olympic events, and we feel MMA will create a culture for any one of these disciplines among the Emirati youth. And secondly, to promote Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination as such events draw huge television audiences abroad." According to Soheil Nemri, the head promoter, MMA is a combination of fighting skills including judo, karate, jiu jitsu, wrestling and kick-boxing. "It is the ultimate test and we have selected the world best eight for this grand event," said Nemri.

"The championship is a three-round elimination over three grand prix events. The dates for the next two rounds will be decided after the first fight." apassela@thenational.ae