Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has set up shop on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, staging UFC 251 past weekend (Sat., July 11, 2020) with three more events lined up for the next two weeks.
But, according to Dana White, the promotion could very well be calling “Fight Island” home for a big part of 2020. That’s because COVID-19 is still surging and has gotten worse than when the pandemic started earlier this year in some states, which forced the entire country to shut down.
So with things getting worse in the United States, several states (like California) that have recently reopened are starting to shut down once again. Others, meanwhile, are carrying on with a “business as usual” approach despite leading the nation in surging positive coronavirus cases.
So what will the promotion do if Nevada once again shuts down, preventing UFC from using its APEX facility in Las Vegas to stage events? An extended stay on “Fight Island” seems to be the plan.
“My back up plan would be ‘Fight Island.’ We might be living here,” White said during a recent media scrum. “Anything is possible. If Nevada shuts down and doesn’t allow us to do fights in Nevada, I am going to be spending a lot of time in Abu Dhabi.”
According to White, he doesn’t plan to postpone events should that be the case.
“I hope not. Listen, we have proved that we can do these things in Nevada or anywhere, safely. So, hopefully we can keep doing what we do in Nevada and we can keep coming to Abu Dhabi for international fights. That is what I am hoping for. But yes, I am thinking about what will happen if we get shut down and what is next.”
As it stands, the promotion has five events lined up to go down in “Sin City” in the month of August. UFC Fight Night: “Holm vs Aldana” is set to go down on Aug. 1 with an event going down every Saturday for the remainder of the month, including UFC 252, which features the much-anticipated trilogy fight between Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, and Daniel Cormier on Aug. 15, 2020.
While there is no telling what state officials will do in Nevada, White and Co. seemingly already have a back up plan ready to go. Time to get those passports ready, ladies and gentleman, just in case.