Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

UFC

Dana White expects UFC to go 'back and forth' to Abu Dhabi amid coronavirus crisis

UAE capital Abu Dhabi was earlier this month confirmed as the location for UFC Fight Island

Dana White has said the UFC will keep returning to Abu Dhabi "until the world comes back" from the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that more future events like Fight Island could be on the horizon.

Abu Dhabi was earlier this month confirmed as the location for UFC Fight Island - a two-week, four-show series that will confine all fighters, teams and staff to Yas Island - as a means of hosting international fights during the crisis.

MMA's flagship company made its return from lockdown on May 10 with UFC 249, but all events have so far been in the United States - first in Jacksonville, Florida and more recently in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, widespread travel restrictions have prevented shows from being staged overseas, leading to the agreement between the UFC and Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) to create Fight Island.

On Friday, White said he will be looking for Abu Dhabi to host more events in the future as the UFC attempts to safely put on events amid the Covid-19 situation.

"We’re going to be going back and forth to Abu Dhabi until the world comes back," the UFC president said. "This is an international business, and most of our fighters are international.

"We have to put on so many international fights, or I’ll end up smoking all the US talent like that and we wouldn’t be able to put on any events.

"We’re going to be going back and forth to Abu Dhabi, I’m assuming for a very long time."

The UFC signed a five-year agreement with DCT Abu Dhabi in April last year - a deal White described as "next level" and "mind-boggling" - before making a hugely successful return to the capital with UFC 242 in September.

However, Fight Island is viewed as an “extension” of that existing relationship, with the UFC expected to return to Abu Dhabi later this year - likely in October.

It is unclear whether White's most recent comments pertain to that five-year deal or if he is looking into the possibility of more Fight Islands.

Fight Island will begin on July 11 with UFC 251, which will feature three title fights and will be headlined by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman's contest against No1 contender Gilbert Burns.

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UFC makes successful return to Abu Dhabi at UFC 242 - in pictures

Updated: June 24, 2020 03:53 PM

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