UFC Fight Island Finally Becomes a Reality in Abu Dhabi

Dana White unveiled UFC Fight Island this week. In a move that surprised everyone, the idea of an isolated island dedicated to staging UFC fights has finally happened, with Yas Island in Abu Dhabi becoming the stage for UFC 251.

The UFC President originally floated the idea when the coronavirus pandemic forced all professional sports events to shut down. The organization has weighed up the pros and cons of a number of potential locations around the world, including in the Caribbean.

Based on the UFC’s continued defiance against the coronavirus, it’s widely expected that Fight Island will be yet another success story.

How Will the UFC Fight Island Work?

UFC Fight Island is designed to become both a place for training camps, sparring, and PPV events. Fighters will stay and train on the island before their fights take place. The organization is also touting an Octagon on the sand as one of its key selling points.

Fans expect this to be an event unlike any other, and they’ll get the first taste of it at UFC 251 on July 11th.

Local authorities will create a sanitized safe zone on Yas Island, which will include a hotel, an arena, training facilities, and a restaurant. Only fighters and their camps will be able to enter the safe zone.

White said, “Nobody will leave. Everything will happen on the island.”

However, it’s unclear how many fighters will be able to contend with the various global border restrictions currently imposed. It’s assumed that the United Arab Emirates will provide special dispensation for fighters and their teams to enter the country.

Testing will be available on Fight Island, but it’s currently unclear as to what may happen if a fighter tests positive while they’re on the island.

A Mega Card for UFC 251

UFC Fight Island is set to host UFC 251 on July 11th. This will be followed by three further events at the same venue on July 15th, 18th, and 25th. Little is known as to which fighters may appear at the subsequent events.

Fans can look forward to at least three major title fights on the UFC 251 card. Defending welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend against Gilbert Burns as the headline fight.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated match on the card, though, is the rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway for the featherweight championship.

The third title match announced so far is Petr Yan and Jose Aldo, who will contest the UFC bantamweight championship, which is currently vacant.

There have been two other fights announced for the UFC 251 card thus far. Fight fans can look forward to Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade and Paige VanZant vs. Amanda Ribas.

The Future of Fight Island

With the second wave of coronavirus cases expected later in the year, UFC Fight Island could provide a sanctuary for the UFC if they’re forced to shut down in the US again.

The countries of the Arabian Peninsula have long been friendly to Western countries who want to host events in their countries, so it’s likely the United Arab Emirates will jump at the chance of getting exclusive access to the UFC in the event of another wave of coronavirus cases.

As well as being an excellent gimmick, the UFC has futureproofed itself against a new wave of coronavirus infections.


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