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UFC in Abu Dhabi vs. Dynamite at Kokuritsu Stadium

By Zach Arnold | January 22, 2010

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The 2002 Dynamite event at Kokuritsu (National) Stadium in Tokyo… I remember reading all the various stories leading up to the show in the various daily newspapers, talking about how much production equipment was needed and how many portable bathrooms were installed just to convert the soccer stadium into a facility for an MMA show.

Of course, the Dynamite show had around 70,000 people in the stadium. The UFC experiment in Abu Dhabi will be held at a place that’s currently occupied by gravel. Building an architectually-sound “arena” in about two months for an MMA show? Earthquakes can be felt in the UAE, so that could get ugly if a quake hit this new “arena.”

And an “arena” that seats about 10,000?

Fans do have a right to be skeptical in regards to whether or not this show gets postponed from it’s April date due to the massive amount of work needed to produce what is currently being planned.

If the show does happen, it should draw a solid PPV buyrate with BJ Penn headlining the card. Taped or not, he’s now a superstar draw after the numbers he put up for last December’s event.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “UFC in Abu Dhabi vs. Dynamite at Kokuritsu Stadium”

  1. Alan Conceicao says:

    I doubt tickets will ever go on sale; they’ll probably be given out for free instead.

    One big difference between this and so many overseas cards in the past: If its on in the night time there (which is going to be the AM on the West Coast), the results will be on Sportscenter after the fights. Rarely have the events overseas been big enough to justify ESPN and so on giving out results like that.

  2. Rohan says:

    Zach – yes a challenge but I think you’re overstating things massivly because its a ‘foreign’ country.

    Unless I’m mistaken Vegas casinos used to assemble and take down configrations of outdoor arenas pretty damn quick – and there was a potential bid to build a 30,000 outdoor arena on the Strip for the Mayweather Pacquio fight. And in the UK there are many boxing venues (Excel, Earls court) that assemble big 10,000 arena configirations in a couple of days using “temporary” seating. Okay being outdoors is slightly different as you need to build the gantry, ring cover and some hard camera/control positions. However its not particularly challenging especially for a country with a good reputation for putting on events. They’ll probably buy or rent in 3 low angle 3000 capacity temporary risers/stands, stick 500 on the floor and stick the media on the other side. And in the UK we manage to set up temporary toilets for music festivals for up to 100,000 so I don’t think that’ll be a game breaker!

    As for the earthquakes from what I can make out the risk is pretty much the same as earthquakes in the south of the UK – yes they happen but they very rarely do more than take a few tiles off a roof.

    I agree with Alan – the new investors have essentially paid for this show and it will be used in that way – I’d be surprised if tickets were on sale publicly.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    BTW, I don’t see the temporary stadium thing being an issue. Wynn was willing to construct one for Pacman/Mayweather that would seat 35,000 in a similar time frame. Boxing has had temporary stadiums constructed for over a hundred years for major fights; all the Caesars Palace events were temporary seating. In other sports; Auto Racing obviously does major temporary events in Spain, Monaco, Long Beach, Singapore, Le Mans, Montreal, Trois Rivieres, Nuremburg, Sao Paolo, Macau….you get the point. Many Olympic venues are temporary structures put up in short order and comprise a wide range of sports.

    As for the possibility of them being stable; well, Vegas and California can feel earthquakes from the San Andreas. They still run there all the time.

  4. Steve4192 says:

    I’m surprised Strikeforce is holding an event in Florida. After all, hurricanes can be felt in Miami.

    And what about the UFC in Nebraska? I hear that tornadoes can be felt in Omaha.

    Don’t even get me started on the SEG era UFC events in Bay St. Louis. Didn’t they know that the Mississippi river is prone to flooding?

  5. Rohan says:

    And BTW on earthquakes – erm Los Angeles?

    Looking at it again Zach’s post is a spectacularly ill informed comment piece!

  6. David M says:

    Don’t worry about whether or not the sheiks can construct a stadium in 2 months—when foreign workers know they can’t rely on the rule of law to protect them, they tend to work very hard. If the choice is torture or work, people work.

  7. Grape Knee High says:

    I suspect Zach did not read the article thoroughly. Zelaznik clearly implies it’s just some grandstand seating inside a big tent. Except fancier than I am making it sound.

    If we were talking about a typical hockey/basketball-type arena, I would agree with Zach.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    UFC’s problem. As long as the event goes on as planned (which I will assume it will), there isn’t much to comment on here.

  9. jr says:

    The event will lead to more Debbie Schlussel photoshops

  10. Mike says:

    These Abu Dhabi people will throw money at this project until it’s done. This isn’t techically difficult – all they need is well-constructed seating, bathrooms, and concession stands. Doesn’t seem all that difficult with an unlimited budget. They’ll have crews going 24/7 on this.

    And having just 10K seats isn’t necessarily bad – those tickets will probably be REALLY expensive so the gate might be huge.

  11. Mike says:

    One more thing about Earthquakes – both the UFC and WEC have done many shows in California without any problems.

  12. Steve4192 says:


  13. Mark says:

    The bigger question is: is this worth it financially? Tickets are probably going to be comped, the buy rate isn’t going to be huge since it will be tape delayed. So where will the money come from to justify it?

  14. Steve4192 says:

    I suspect the ticket prices are going to look like the dinner prices at a political fundraiser. Zuffa will sell 500 tickets at $5000 a pop to various local royalty and comp the rest to the unwashed masses.

  15. Zack says:

    I don’t think there’s any concern with the place being built on time. I’m sure dudes will be slaving around the clock to get it done.

  16. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Royalty basically prints their own money in these types of countrie. The money shouldn’t be an issue.

    2) Alan’s worry about results coming on ESPN might not be true. Will any press even be invited to this event? If it’s just a UFC crew and the Abu Dhabians (yes, made up term), then they could easily keep it a secret for 24 hours.

  17. brent says:

    What does Dynamite 2002 have to do this whatsoever?

  18. Dave says:

    Dynamite!! 2002 had one of the highest attendances of any fight card in history, and what he is pointing out is they had problems taking a soccer arena and setting it up for a fight show, lots and lots of logistics.

  19. Zack says:

    His point is that Dana White plans to parachute into this show as a tribute to Inoki.

  20. Jeremy (Not that Jeremy) says:

    I’d pay to see that.

    Apparently no one here has ever been to an “under the big top” circus.

    There are no problems setting up a tent for several thousand people in under 24 hours, and 10k wouldn’t be an issue either.

    As temporary as this is claimed to be, it’s not like this tent is going to be made of elk bone and camel skins.

  21. Alan Conceicao says:

    There’s no way there’s A) zero press B) no one in ABU DHBAI capable of reporting who wins and loses. C’mon.

  22. Zack says:

    “As temporary as this is claimed to be, it’s not like this tent is going to be made of elk bone and camel skins.”


  23. StevoP says:

    Wellm tickets go on sale on Sunday and are expected to be gone in an hour – UFC goes out free (kind of) over here so its massive in among the Expat population (Brits, Australian, Kiwis and Yanks). They will have no problems selling 10000 tickets. After all it is still cheaper than flying to Vegas!!


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