The UFC has confirmed that Abu Dhabi will play host to its mysterious ‘Fight Island’ concept, as the organisation announces on Tuesday that four fight cards will take place across two weeks beginning July 11.
Yas Island, described in literature accompanying the announcement as “one of the emirate’s most popular leisure, shopping and entertainment destinations” will host the first event — UFC 251 — on July 11, a pay-per-view which is currently scheduled to be headlined by a featherweight title rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway and a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. The area has hosted one previous UFC event, last year’s event headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
Three further ‘Fight Night’ events will take place on July 15, July 18 and July 25.
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“We came up with the idea of having fights on ‘Fight Island’ because we needed a destination to hold international events during the global pandemic,” Dana White said of the concept.
“Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events. 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.”
In order to safeguard fighters and their training teams, a series of stringent health and safety guidelines will be introduced including a 10 square mile exclusion zone around the arena, hotel, training facilities and various restaurants in which only fighters, their teams and workers associated with the events will be permitted.