The most anticipated mixed martial arts’ mystery is finally solved. Abu Dhabi is going to host UFC Fight Island.
According to a report from Combate’s own Marcelo Barone and Raphael Marinho, the site intended to host Fight Island’s events is not some location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but instead a well-known city by the UFC fans.
Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital, is home to a plethora of islands. Some of those, in fact, already hosted Ultimate Fighting Championship’s events in the past. The last one was UFC 242, which took place on Yas Island on September 7, 2019. During that night, Russian star Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight belt against Dustin Poirier.
The whole idea of Fight Island was to find a solution in order to give chances even to non-American fighters to compete during these struggling times because of the concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, but in these past weeks, concerns were circulating about the reality of Fight Island due to the United States’ international flights restrictions.
In Abu Dhabi, though, restrictions on international flights are more accommodating. Passengers who land there are tested as soon as they arrived, but there is no forced isolation for 14 days. It’s only recommended to stay in self-isolation until the results of the tests are out.
Just after the end of UFC 250, Dana White was asked about the now disclosed location, but he didn’t confirm it. “I will announce next week and I will show you pictures and I will give you a lot more information”, the UFC brass stated.
White also added that, despite initial rumors of the first event taking place on June 27, Fight Island will not be ready until July. Abu Dhabi’s outlet The National, in fact, reports July 11 as the slated date for the inaugural event.
There are already some bouts scheduled for the upcoming gigs. Jack Hermansson should lock horns against former middleweight title contender Kelvin Gastelum on July 18. Darren Till, instead, ought to square off against former middleweight belt-holder Robert Whittaker on July 25.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 6/7/2020.