Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has confirmed that he is “a day or two away” from securing a private island on which to stage UFC events.
The deal will reportedly allow the mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter to hold weekly fights over a two-month period, with fighters, media and other essential personnel flying to and from the undisclosed location on private aircraft.
No spectators will attend the bouts and, according to White, every person that sets foot on the island will undergo thorough screening on arrival and departure.
The news comes after confirmation of the revamped card for UFC 249, which will now see Tony Ferguson take on Justin Gaethje in the main event after Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw due to travel restrictions.
White has made no secret of his desire to continue staging fights despite the coronavirus outbreak, yet lockdown measures in the United States and abroad have already seen three UFC events cancelled.
The MMA community is not alone in that regard, as most of the world’s professional, amateur and collegiate sporting competitions are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
White’s ploy to keep the fire burning is reminiscent of a concept currently under consideration by Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) that would see hundreds of players, coaches, officials and other key staffers sent to an abandoned island resort off the coast of Queensland.
Several other major competitions, including the Australian Football League (AFL), English Premier League (EPL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA), have also toyed with the idea of staging fixtures at isolated venues.
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