UFC president Dana White confirmed on Tuesday that the company’s so-called Fight Island is located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and that the UFC will hold four events at the complex in July.
Fight Island is located entirely on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, which features a number of tourism attractions.
Yas Island Known for Tourism, Sporting Events
Yas Island has hosted the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Formula One since 2009. Several theme parks are also located on the island.
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2020
Now, the UFC will join the party. White told multiple media outlets that Fight Island includes an arena for holding competitive cards along with restaurants, a hotel, and training facilities including a training Octagon on the beach.
“When this whole thing went down, I was trying to figure out how we could do events,” White said, via the UFC’s Twitter account. “Everything will happen on the island. Nobody will leave the island. They’re going to have their own private training quarters where people can train themselves. We really do have an Octagon out in the sand. The infrastructure is going to be unbelievable.”
Discussion of a Fight Island facility began at the start of the COVID-19 shutdown. White floated the idea of having UFC purchase an island in order to hold fights between internationally-based fighters who couldn’t make it into the United States.
UFC ultimately found a more grounded solution in Yas Island. The company has held three events on Yas Island in the past, including UFC 242 last September. In 2019, the UFC and Abu Dhabi reached a five-year deal to hold annual cards on the island.
Fight Island Debuting With Three Title Fights
The Fight Island experience will begin on July 11 with UFC 251. The company will then hold three UFC Fight Night cards at the location on July 15, 18, and 25.
Several notable bouts have already been confirmed for those July cards. White told ESPN that UFC 251 will include three championship fights. In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will take on Gilbert Burns. In addition, Alex Volkanovski will defend his featherweight championship in a rematch against Max Holloway, while Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will fight for the vacant bantamweight title.
The UFC plans to maintain restricted access to Fight Island. According to White, only athletes, coaches, and limited UFC staff and personnel will be permitted to come within 10 square miles of the facility.
While the UFC postponed six events during the coronavirus pandemic, White insisted that the company would be the first major sports organization to get back to business. He met that challenge by organizing three events in just over a week in Florida beginning on May 9. More recently, the promotion held two shows at its Apex facility in Las Vegas.