Observations from Abu Dhabi

It’s been exciting coming out to Abu Dhabi to watch UFC 112. The city is not very big and you can spot guys with their MMA team shirts or Tapout shirts in the hotels and malls.

I flew here from Lahore on Friday and after checking into my hotel, I headed straight for Marina Mall to catch the UFC 112 weigh-in’s.

Throughout the mall there were banners and the television screens advertising the fight. In the middle of the mall they had set up a stage on one side and a signing booth on the other so that GSP and Ross Pearson could sign autographs for the fans.

The weigh in area was PACKED. The majority of the fans were caucasian people from all over, mostly UK and USA but many from Europe as well. They probably made up about 40% of the crowd the rest of the crowd was a mix, with a lot of Arabs (of course, it’s the UAE) and Filipinos and then a random collection of people from the 196 countries that can be found in Abu Dhabi which happens to be 80% expatriate.

They played the countdown to UFC 112 on a giant screen above the weigh in stage and after spending 30 minutes watching that, I heard commotion from the opposite end of the staging area and saw GSP and Ross Pearson walking in to sit down for the signings. Immediately, people seemed to forget the concept of a line although it was not as bad as Pakistan. If this had been Pakistan I am sure the weigh in would have been canceled after people got out of control. But luckily it didn’t get too bad, just a lot of complaining from people about shoving. I got pictures of both Ross Pearson and GSP signed and quickly had the MMA Pakistan shirt I was wearing signed by GSP as well.

I then got out of the mayhem of the signing area and went upstairs to catch the weigh ins from the railing above (this was a mall).

The weigh in’s were very cool, fighters do not look as big as you would think they are in person. At least that was my impression.

After the weigh in’s there was a Q&A with GSP, during which about 7 fans asked the same question “will you go up in weight to fight Anderson Silva?”

At the same time in the back Dana White as well as other UFC and MMA personas like Bruce Buffer, Phil Nurse, Tiki, Eddie Bravo and Dana White were hanging out talking to fans.

Despite all the crap Dana White gets from people, I do have to say the man is very polite and personable with the fans and I did not hear him curse once :).

After about 3 hours of standing in the same area I decided to go eat in the food court and leave. While in the food court it seems that although fighters seem to keep a disciplined diet the rest of their entourage certainly DO NOT. Lot’s of ice cream and sodas to be seen. I won’t name names 🙂

Over all, great experience and I look forward to tonight.




Leave a Comment