While you’ve spent most of your time during the pandemic trying to design your island in Animal Crossing, UFC’s Dana White was doing something similar. The only difference is that White created a real-life island, and he’ll be using it for UFC events.
Since we’re comparing this to video games already, Fight Island is also the premise to the Mortal Kombat games: fighters will travel to this island for international fights. And while it sounded like an unlikely venue at first, Dana White delivered on his promise, announcing that inaugural Fight Island event would be the home of UFC 251 on July 11.
MMA Fighting recently had the chance to view the Fight Island setup prior to UFC 251.
The origins of Fight Island began in March when the UFC had to postpone UFC 249 after pressure from executives at Disney and ESPN, who hold UFC television and pay-per-view rights in the United States.
While UFC has held events since then, most recently a crowdless UFC 250 in Las Vegas, only fighters living in the United States can participate. This is due to the travel bans in placed by the United States and other countries because of the coronavirus. In order to circumvent these rules, White and the UFC had to create a venue outside of the United States. They kept mum on the location for weeks with White saying “can’t send location yet” when asked about it in April. But UFC eventually announced that the location of Fight Island is in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
Throughout the lead up to the announcement, Dana White kept going out of his way to reassure that Fight Island was indeed happening. ‘Fight Island’ is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure’s being built right now, and that’s really going to happen.”The constant reminders almost had one thinking that pie-in-the-sky idea was far from being completed. Of course, it wouldn’t have been the first island event to fail to deliver.
This won’t be the first UFC event to be held in Yas Island, however, as UFC 112 took place there in 2010.
While it seems that UFC opted to use the name Fight Island, they had also recently filed trademarks for UFSEA a week after John Oliver mentioned the name on his May 17th episode of Last Week Tonight.