Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

Abu Dhabi to host UFC's Fight Island? Dana White will confirm location 'next week'

The UFC signed a five-year deal with Abu Dhabi last year, and kicked off the agreement with the hugely successful UFC 242 in September

UFC president Dana White said he would confirm the location of “Fight Island” this week, after Abu Dhabi was heavily linked with the month-long fight festival.

A report by Brazilian outlet Combate late on Saturday stated the capital would host Fight Island, which White has kept secret since first announcing the concept in April.

The UFC signed a five-year deal with Abu Dhabi last year, and kicked off the agreement with the hugely successful UFC 242 in September, which was headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.Asked immediately following UFC 250 in Las Vegas if he would confirm Abu Dhabi as host, White said: “I will announce next week and I will show you pictures and I will give you a lot more information.”

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the local organisers, would not comment on the speculation, but told The National on Saturday night they would make a “major announcement soon”.

White devised Fight Island in light of the coronavirus crisis to facilitate international fighters competing during the pandemic, seeking a location that had the requisite measures in place to allow combatants to fly into the country.

Fight Island is slated to begin on July 11.

The UFC was the first major sport to return amid the crisis, first in Jacksonville, Florida last month before moving to the promotion’s own facility in Las Vegas. Sunday’s UFC 250 was headed by two-division champion Amanda Nunes’ successful title defence against Felicia Spencer.

Nunes, widely regarded as the finest female fighter in UFC history, pronounced herself as "the greatest" after dominating Spencer to retain her crown and become the first two-weight UFC title holder to successfully defend both belts.

The Canadian challenger went the distance, but she was completely outclassed, as Nunes won every one of the five rounds on the judges' scorecards.

"I studied her very well, I know she's tough and I have to be sharp if I have to go five rounds, I have to be dominating," Nunes told commentator Joe Rogan after the fight.

"That was my goal, defending my two belts at the same time. I defended both belts, you know, I'm the greatest! I'm so happy right now!

"I don't know what is next, but I've proved [myself] already. Tonight I closed a cycle, and I'm proud of myself and my team."

Updated: June 7, 2020 01:14 PM

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