The coronavirus pandemic has sent the sports world scrambling for ideas on how each sport might continue to host events. When the UFC tried to host UFC 249 in a Native American casino, the government ultimately shut it down. This forced the UFC to look for something else, and it’s why the UFC is making Fight Island a reality.
What is the UFC’s Fight Island?
As its simple name would imply, it’s an island where the UFC wants to host fights. That said, it’s actually more than that. According to Talk Sports, Fight Island’s exact location is unknown. But it’s guaranteed to be a private island somewhere in the ocean.
While fans would have fun seeing fights on beaches, the UFC is also working on making it professional. DAZN reported that the UFC is building all the infrastructure that’s needed to host fighters on an island. This infrastructure, according to Dana White, the president of the UFC, includes things such as hotels and training facilities.
The UFC is also adding the stuff necessary for broadcasting those fights, such as internet service and transportation. Although the UFC has kept the location of Fight Island a secret, White believes the island is nearly ready. “Fight Island should be up and running in June,” White told ESPN.
How the UFC will keep people safe on Fight Island
Since, as White put it, the UFC will be “putting an Octagon on the beach,” the fights on Fight Island will not have an audience. This will keep many people safe from COVID-19, but that’s not the only thing that the UFC is doing. The UFC, following in the footsteps of the WWE, has also started hosting audience-less events in Florida, and so, the UFC will also be using those same safety measures on Fight Island.
For example, in the UFC’s audience-less events in Florida, fighters are put in a hotel and are as isolated as possible from one another. The UFC also takes steps to ensure that as few people are in the arena as possible. Furthermore, the UFC does a lot of tests on the fighters and their corners to ensure that they’re not COVID-19 positive.
That said, despite these safety measures, a UFC fighter at a recent event in Florida, Jacare Souza, tested positive for COVID-19 along with some of his teammates, according to ESPN. However, the UFC’s safety measures did ultimately prevent them from spreading the disease to others.
Is Fight Island a good idea?
The UFC certainly thinks so, as it’s pretty close to being completed. The UFC isn’t the only one excited for Fight Island, either. Many UFC fighters have expressed their desire to fight on the island, according to Talk Sport. The current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, said that it would be “f****** gangster,” to fight someone on Fight Island.
Adesanya, who lives in New Zealand, is exactly the type of fighter that Fight Island is supposed to serve. Right now, the world is on lockdown, and many countries have banned flights from one country to another. Since Fight Island is a private island though, this allows the UFC to have fighters fly in from those countries and fight.
That said, whether or not it’s a good idea, safety wise, is up in the air. Due to how secret Fight Island has been, the UFC has given very few details about it so far. But, as long as the UFC can keep fighters, their teams, and everyone else on the island safe from COVID-19, then it may be a good idea.