Abu Dhabi Media teams up with Starzplay to live-stream UFC in MENA
Abu Dhabi Media, the Middle East media and entertainment organisation, has entered into a strategic partnership with Starzplay, the subscription video on-demand service, to live-stream events from mixed martial arts’ UFC across the MENA region.
The tie-up comes ahead of UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi for its Fight Island event this Saturday and the highly-anticipated return of Ireland’s Conor McGregor in a rematch against Dustin Poirier on 24 January.
Under the deal, Starzplay subscribers will have access to all live UFC events and an extensive VOD content library of previous fights, shows, interviews, and ‘special content’ such as UFC president Dana White's online ‘Contender Series’.
The first UFC events to be live-streamed on Starzplay include UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar on Saturday and UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs Magny on 20 January.
On the following weekend, Starzplay users will have access to the marquee UFC 257 bout between McGregor and Poirier.
All the fights will be live-streamed on Starzplay, the UFC Arabia app, and Abu Dhabi Fight Channel, the first MMA fighting channel in the region.
ADM launched UFC Arabia, the first Arabic-language UFC streaming platform in the MENA region, in July 2019 to carry its exclusive coverage of the MMA promotion.
The service provides fans with exclusive live-streams of events as well as access to a range of fight videos and is available in 21 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Bahrain.
UFC Arabia is now available on Starzplay for AED18.99 ($5) per month, on top of existing subscription packages.
ADM signed a multi-year deal in April 2019 to become the UFC rights-holder in the MENA region, replacing pay-TV network OSN which had shut down the majority of its sports channels.
Yaqoub Al Saadi, head of Abu Dhabi sports channels, Abu Dhabi Media, said: "This decision to expand access to UFC Arabia is part of our ongoing strategy to provide compelling digital content for consumers and is in line with our commitment to bringing major sports to viewers in the region."
Danny Bates, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Starzplay, added: "Our partnership with Abu Dhabi Media to include UFC Arabia on Starzplay further strengthens our content. With more and more people taking to online streaming services, offering diverse content for our subscribers is our differentiating strength.”
The upcoming UFC event in Abu Dhabi will be the promotion’s seventh Fight Island offering after being forced to relocate to the UAE last July as international fighters were unable to enter the US under travel restrictions enforced because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yas Island is the home of the Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts Formula 1's annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
It held its first UFC event – UFC 242 – in September 2019, attracting 14,000 spectators at the start of a five-year partnership between UFC and DCT Abu Dhabi, the emirate's department of culture and tourism.