It was a huge day for UFC fans as the company announced a slew of exciting news on Friday, all of which would seem to indicate the world’s biggest and arguably best MMA promotional company was about to start promoting fights again.
While the biggest news was UFC 249 being officially announced by the company for May 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., with a full-card lineup that appears to be one of the best in recent memory, perhaps the more interesting information surfacing on the day were the new details about UFC’s Fight Island.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Dana White confirmed his company’s Fight Island plans were moving forward to the point that he believed it would be operational in June. Additionally, White revealed the UFC’s Octagon would be located on the beach and that fighters would be able to stay in hotels while they were there competing.
Okamoto posted the information via Twitter, “Per Dana White, Fight Island will be operational by June. Octagon on the beach. Hotels for fighters to stay at while they are there. Once things go back to normal, Fight Island will likely get retired, but it’s a real piece of the promotions plans.”
Okamoto later added more details White had shared with him by tweeting, “Dana White on Fight Island: We really are putting an Octagon on the beach. There’s going to be training facilities there for people. There are hotels, and all the infrastructure is going to be built for the UFC to have fights there.”
White Doesn’t Expect Fans at Events for ‘Very Long Time’
While the location of Fight Island has yet to be revealed, it appears it is a very real thing and that it’s on its way to being built.
Moreover, while White doesn’t believe Fight Island’s shelf life will last forever, the UFC’s top executive also said in a separate interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole that he didn’t foresee fans being able to attend fights anytime soon.
Iole tweeted, “I think one notable quote I got from [Dana White] today is this: ‘I don’t expect to have a [paid] gate for a very long time, so I’ve already thrown that out the window.'”
With no paid gate and the COVID-19 social distancing protocols perhaps being something that could go on for the foreseeable future, Fight Island could become one of the more important aspects of the UFC’s operational plans moving forward.
Who knows how long this pandemic lasts? Or how easy it will be to constantly get venues booked for upcoming UFC events?
Fight Island could turn out to be way more important than White ever imagined.
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