June 9 (UPI) — UFC president Dana White revealed the location and upcoming schedule for his mysterious “Fight Island” on Tuesday.
White appeared on ESPN’s First Take and said the island venue is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The island will help the UFC accommodate some of its international fighters who have difficulties entering the United States because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” White said Tuesday. “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 going to burn out all my American talent. So now we’ve got Yas Island ready to go; it’s set up.”
The UFC will host four events on “Fight Island” next month, starting with a loaded card for UFC 251 on July 11. UFC Fight Night cards are scheduled for July 15, 18 and 25.
UFC 251 will feature three championship bouts, according to White. UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his title against Gilbert Burns in the main event, while Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway will square off in a featherweight title rematch.
In the third championship match, Petr Yan will take on Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight belt.
“Fight Island” will include an arena, hotel, training facilities and dining establishments, according to the UFC. The designated area on Yas Island will also feature a “safety zone” of 10 square miles in which the only individuals permitted will be coaches, fighters, UFC staff and other limited personnel.
The UFC has strong ties to Abu Dhabi and previously held three cards at Yas Island. The most recent event at the venue was UFC 242 in September, headlined by a lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
In 2019, the company signed a five-year deal to hold annual events there.
The UFC postponed six events in March, April and May because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the promotion has resumed a consistent schedule since its return to action May 9 in Florida. The company promoted three cards in a span of eight days in Florida and has since held two more over the last two weeks in Las Vegas.