UFC Fight Island Returns This Week
7 Jul, 2020
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has confirmed its Fight Island events will be held on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island this month.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion will produce four events on Yas Island, one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular leisure, shopping and entertainment destinations, including the UFC 251 pay-per-view (PPV) event and three Fight Nights.
UFC 251 will start off proceedings on July 11, with the event expected to be headlined by welterweight Kamaru Usman’s title defence against Gilbert Burns, followed by Fight Nights on 15th July, 18th July and 25th July. Further details for each event, including full fight cards, will be announced in the coming weeks.
For Fight Island to comply with existing public health guidelines, Abu Dhabi will create a safety zone within the nearly ten-square-mile Yas Island, which will include an arena, hotel, training facilities and dining establishments. The safety zone will only be open to UFC athletes and their coaches, UFC staff and other event personnel, as well as Yas Island employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.
The news strengthens UFC’s close ties with Abu Dhabi after the promotion penned a five-year partnership in 2019 to bring events to the United Arab Emirates capital. Prior to that, UFC held bouts in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and 2014.
The new agreement to bring UFC Fight Island to Abu Dhabi is an expansion of the original five-year partnership signed last year.
UFC president Dana White, who has remained bullish in his stance to continue with events despite health concerns, initially revealed in April he was close to securing a private island for the promotion to host bouts for international fighters during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events,” said White. “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 UFC returned to action with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9 and has staged a further four events since.