Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White officially confirms the overseas venue for this year’s fights, which is an island resort in Abu Dhabi.
President Dana White announced on Tuesday the new venue of the UFC fighting arena—now dubbed as “Fight Island.” the American mixed martial arts organization found a way to assure the presence of international fighters in their scheduled fight cards amid the still ongoing pandemic.
The organization, spearheaded by White, looked for a workaround based on the travel restrictions in the United States which made it difficult for fighters outside the country to get in.
Reuters mentioned that there were talks in April, that White was “close to secure a private island.” Forbes noted that this led to the assumption that the president of the MMA sports was about to purchase an island to host the championships, based on the hints he was dropping.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 9, 2020
The “Fight Island” location
The online publication quotes the UFC chief’s statement, saying:
“Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events. The infrastructure we are building will be such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the fighters that’s never been done before – from the arena, the private training facility, and the Octagon on the island – it’s going to be an experience that none of us will ever forget. I can’t wait to deliver amazing fights from Yas island.”
The “Fight Island” will reportedly have a 10-square mile safety zone established. This will house UFC staff, event personnel, the participating athletes, coaches, and the Yas Island Hotel employees who will be operating its facilities.
Yas Island will offer UFC its official fighting arena, the participants’ training facilities, dining, and hotel accommodations.
— danawhite (@danawhite) June 9, 2020
Events already lined up in “Fight Island”
There are already four fights scheduled to happen in “Fight Island.” According to White, the first event that Yas Island will host is the UFC 251 penned in on July 11. The other three Fight Night events are lined up on July 15, 18, and 25.
There will be three championship fights to happen in UFC 251, and it is said to be headlined by the welterweight match between Gilbert Burns (challenger) and Kamaru Usman (champion).
Will all fights now happen in Abu Dhabi? That is yet to be confirmed, but Fox Business did report that “UFC signed a five-year deal with hold annual events in Abu Dhabi.”
There is, however, an upcoming fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend, as part of the UFC 250.
Featured image courtesy of Andrius Petrucenia/Flickr