All the important details about UFC’s Fight Island, to be staged in Abu Dhabi this July…

Earlier this week, we examined the exciting prospect that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) could use Abu Dhabi as its staging location for the teased concept of ‘Fight Island.’

The idea was UFC President, Dana White’s theatrical solution to meeting the social distancing requirements of the pandemic era.

An octagon housed in a remote arena somewhere exotic, with on-site training facilities, and zero spectators. A stripped-back celebration of the art of combat.

And tonight, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) has confirmed that Yas Island on Abu Dhabi will be that special location.

There are four separate UFC fights set to take place in one of Yas Island’s existing arenas (although the decision on which is yet to be decided), throughout July.

The main event, UFC 251 will take place on Saturday July 11, 2020, with three further ‘Fight Nights’ scheduled for Wednesday July 15, Saturday July 18, and Saturday July 25.

The group of fighters will arrive in the capital for their MMAcation and stay for a period of three weeks. Where, in addition to training, they and their coaching teams will be subject to testing for Covid-19 to ensure contamination risks are kept to an absolute minimum.

The action will concentrate around an isolated ‘safe space’ on Yas Island where access is restricted to a group of 2,500 essential staff, coaches and athletes.

White has never been shy about his ambitions to return to Abu Dhabi, speaking to UFC Arabia before May’s UFC 249 in Florida, he said:

“We are going to just keep putting on massive fights in Abu Dhabi and keep educating the world on what an incredible destination for fights it is.”

“I have an incredible relationship with Abu Dhabi. Any opportunity that I can get to do an event in Abu Dhabi, I will be there. It is a very well-educated market, fans love the sport, they get the sport, they support the sport.”

UFC 242, which was held at The Arena, on Yas Island in September 2019, was the first event in a five-year deal to the bring mixed martial arts (MMA) championship to Abu Dhabi.

What’s On asked HE Ali Al Shaiba Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at the DCT about how this development fits in with the current arrangement.

He explained “Fight Island is an expansion” to that, “therefore, fans can expect another fight in Abu Dhabi in the future.”

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Speaking on the safety measures in place, Al Shaiba commented:

“We have worked closely with government entities in the UAE to make sure we were able to deliver this event in the safest and most efficient way possible, all while adhering to the government’s strict safety measures.”

With the details of who will appear on the card, either unconfirmed or under wraps, any names we offer up would be pure speculation at this stage.

But many local fight fans are desperate to see Khabib Nurmagomedov return to the capital for a lightweight unification bout against Justin Gaethje.

More details on those all-important athletes will follow as soon as we get them.

Images: Getty