UFC's Fight Island Officially Comes To Life This Weekend
UFC's Fight Island is "real and ready for competition" as it hosts UFC 251 on Saturday night, according to Greg Beacham of the AP. The octagon, inside an air-conditioned arena on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, "also sits inside a bubble that seems highly unlikely to burst." UFC President Dana White "leveraged the UFC's advantages in mobility and size to get back into full-scale competition much more quickly than other leagues and tours." White said that he "never worried about whether he should keep staging shows, but only worried about where he would be allowed to do it, and how he could do it safely." White knew that he would quickly run out of U.S.-based fighters "if he couldn't find a venue less encumbered by travel restrictions." Fight Island "will host four UFC events in 14 days with three championship fights at UFC 251 this weekend." Although the UFC will return to Las Vegas in August, White said that he "believes the UFC will be back at Yas Island repeatedly this year, and perhaps beyond." Roughly six square miles of the island have been "set apart as a 'safe zone' for the roughly 2,000 people involved in the UFC's production over the next three weeks." The organization is following the same health and safety protocols that "appeared to work splendidly the past two months." The promotion has announced "only a few positive tests, with minimal schedule disruptions and no significant outbreaks" (AP, 7/9).