What better way to blow off steam than choking the life out of your friends, locking your lover’s head between your biceps or slamming a stranger onto a mat?
Whether you’re new to mixed martial arts (MMA from now on), or a Conor McGregor in the making, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to master one of the most gruelling and disciplined sports on the planet right here in Abu Dhabi.
There are group and single classes dotted around the city, catering to the sports’ growing legion of fans.
So swap watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship from the comfort of your three-piece suite for the octagon and throwaway the rule book, because life’s about to get lawless. In relation to this sport, obviously.
Adrenagy Training Club
Set up by Faisal Al Khoori, Adrenagy prides itself on being a “club” not a “gym”. A place where people go to interact with like-minded people, rather just rent a treadmill. And if your mind’s on putting burly blokes in an armbar then you’ll find plenty of people with the same interest here. The club runs regular classes and training sessions for MMA, promising to train your brain as much as your body. Members can join in any of the daily classes for free, while guests can participate for Dhs124 per class. Trainers are on hand to teach you a variety of disciplines, including Muay Thai, kickboxing and boxing. It has state-of-the-art exercise facilities, including an official fight ring for when you feel brave enough to take on one of their regulars.
From Dhs2,098 (three-month membership, with classes), Dhs1,570 (three-month membership, gym only). Open daily 6am-11pm. Khalifa Park area (02 444 1121).
Boasting the motto “train insane or remain the same”, you know there’s no chance to take things at a half-speed here. Cobra Fitness also claims it isn’t just a gym, insisting it’s about the whole MMA lifestyle – and that’s why its group classes are so important. You’ll find the opportunity to push your limits among your peers, as staff provide a supportive, motivating atmosphere – as well as more than a fair dose of competition. Classes also run for women and children too, such as kids Brazilian jiu-jitsu, ladies self-defence and sparring for all.
From Dhs840 (one-month membership), Dhs577.70 (ten-class pass). Sun-Thu 6am-10pm; Fri-Sat 7am-11am. Al Bandar, Al Raha Boulevard (02 449 6524).
If you’re looking to mix up your date nights, then head down here and unleash your primal scream, where highly qualified MMA pros teach everyone from beginner to downright tough guy (or girl). Couples are given a special membership price for signing up together – Dhs8,925 for 12 months of MMA classes instead of Dhs11,550 for two singles, saving almost 23 percent. Staff recommend group classes as the best way to train. You can also upgrade their package to include the full fitness package too. Membership bundles include one-, three-, six- and 12-month deals. Starting on Sunday July 2, the gym is running a camp for kids, promising to teach little ones how to practise MMA, dance, kickboxing, arts and crafts and more from Dhs150 per day.
From Dhs840 (one-month adult MMA membership), Dhs150 (one-day kids summer camp). Open Sun-Thu 9am-midnight; Fri 9am-noon, Sat noon-midnight. Amaya tower, Al Reem Island (050 296 2157).
Muay Thai Capoeira Sports Club
Despite the name, they aren’t currently teaching capoeira here, but fear not as head coach Yaser Ahmad Abu Jeish, who has more black belts than you’ve had hot dinners, teaches exceptional Muay Thai, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate and MMA. You can head down for a free class before signing up as a member. Put your love for action movies into, well, action and remember, no eye-gouging.
Prices vary. Open Sat-Thu 3pm-midnight; closed Fri. Bani Yas Najda Street, Al Danah (02 676 9658).