Dubai CrossFit Championship Returns to Original Name After Dropping “CrossFit” From Its Title

The Dubai Fitness Championship returns to its roots, but don't expect the programming to change much.

As announced on the @dxbfitnesschamp Instagram page, the Dubai CrossFit Championship (DCC) will no longer be an officially licensed CrossFit event for its 10th edition in 2022. And moving forward, the event will revert to its original name, the Dubai Fitness Championship (DFC).

The Dubai contest was the first sanctioned event of the 2018-2019 CrossFit season and was amongst the first licensed events. Sanctioned CrossFit events originally held a qualifier to earn athletes a spot at the CrossFit Games, but this practice was abolished following the 2019-2020 season. Licensed events, on the other hand, simply pay a fee to use the CrossFit name in their title. 


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[Related: Consistency, Not Dominance, Is 2-Time CrossFit Games Champ Justin Medeiros’s Secret to Success]

The event carried the Dubai CrossFit Championship name for three of its previous nine competitions (2018, 2019, and 2021). Prior to its association with CrossFit, the DFC was one of the premier international fitness competitions in the world.

The History of the Dubai Fitness Championship

The DFC began in 2012, and the very next year, a young Annie Thorisdottir and Frederik Aegidius were the respective champions in the women’s and men’s divisions. Thorisdottir would go on to win the DFC two more times (2015 and 2017), while Aegidius would also return to the podium in 2015.

That year, Aegidius came in second to an up-and-comer from America, Noah Ohlsen, while a young woman from Oceania, Jamie Greene, made her debut in high-level competition. (She would go on to win the worldwide Open in 2016.)

The floodgates really opened after that with the ensuing male champions being Mat Fraser in 2016 and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson in 2017. The competition switched to the DCC in 2018, which Fraser won again, followed by Brent Fikowski in 2019 and Roman Khrennikov in 2021.

For the women, it’s been just as impressive. The 2016 DFC contest was Sara Sigmundsdottir’s breakthrough win, while Samantha Briggs won the first DCC in 2018. Sigmundsdottir followed that up with a win at the DCC in 2019, and Laura Horvath won the final edition in 2021.

From only the athletes listed above, Dubai has hosted champions from Iceland (five times), the United States (three times), Denmark, Canada, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and Hungary.

The DFC Original

Even as the event morphed into the DCC, it still paid homage to its original name. In 2019, Event 8 of the competition was named “the DFC Original,” a workout featuring a handful of movements unique to the history of the DFC.

In particular, this workout included rarely seen flying push-ups, deck squats, A-jumps, reverse-grip chest-to-bar pull-ups, and the devil’s press (which were programmed by the DFC as early as 2013).

This event served as an introduction for many to the proud history associated with the DFC. They’ve regularly challenged the athletes in ways other competitions of this caliber have not, while simultaneously introducing young athletes to the high-level competition scene before they made their breakthrough within the CrossFit Games season.

The 2022 DFC Qualification Process

There were no invites sent out for the DFC’s 10th-anniversary competition this year — instead, an online qualifier was held. This is in contrast with other major off-season events such as the Rogue Invitational, which invited the top 15 athletes from the Games, and Wodapalooza, which invited all individual CrossFit Games athletes from 2022.

It’s also in contrast to Dubai’s invitation/qualification process from last year in which all 20 athletes in both the men’s and women’s divisions got invited. However, this is really a throwback to how it used to be done. Prior to the 2016 version of the DFC, everyone had to earn their way via the online qualifier.

What Does This Mean Moving Forward?

In the big picture, this won’t change much. In the time following the 2018 CrossFit Games, there have been many twists, turns, changes, and redirections with regard to the competitive CrossFit landscape and ecosystem.

It feels that things are starting to get back to how they were, however. The change in name will have no impact on the programming, which never wavered even during the days of the DCC. In this regard, the only thing changing for 2022 seems to be the name.

Featured Image: @dxbfitnesschamp on Instagram