As the old saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. 2020, at every turn, has seemed to prove that saying as valid. Case in point, the UFC is set to continue operations next month with Fight Island. This has been confirmed by UFC President Dana White, who has been discussing the idea for a couple of months but has now confirmed that it is indeed happening, in addition to revealing the location.
Taking to Twitter, Dana White revealed a brief teaser, more of a motion poster, that features a ring, commonly known as the "Octagon." It is on a beach with the waves crashing nearby. The teaser reveals that the events will be taking place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The first of four scheduled events in July is set to take place on July 11. White had this to say about it.
"We're literally just going to Yas Island right now to pull off these fights, because the hardest thing to do right now is to get people into the country from other parts of the world. And we are a true global business; we're the only ones that are pulling off live sports right now. And if I continue to do fights in the United States, I'm gonna burn out all my American talent. So now we've got Yas Island ready to go; it's set up."
UFC 251 will take place on July 11 and will be available as a pay-per-view event. Further events are dated for July 15, 18 and 25. Dana White, speaking further, elaborated on the idea of Fight Island and how it came to be.
"We came up with the idea of having fights on 'Fight Island' because we needed a destination to hold international events... Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past 10 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."
Major sports will need to get creative to resume safely for the time being, but this is truly unique. Abu Dhabi will be creating a "safety zone" that stretches 10 square miles on the island to help ensure the events can happen as safely as possible. The area includes the arena and a hotel, as well as dining and training facilities. UFC athletes, coaches, staff and other event personnel will be the only ones allowed in this area.
UFC 251 will feature fights between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns competing in the main event. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will take on Max Holloway and Petr Yan will duke it out with Jose Aldo. Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade are also set for a fight, as are Paige VanZant and Amanda Ribas. This news was previously reported by CBS Sports.