The UFC's Fight Island, located on Yas Island in Abu Dahbi, debuted July 11th with UFC 251 and will continue this Saturday with UFC 254. Here are all the answers to your questions about this martial arts paradise.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing quarantine, UFC president Dana White had been planning on how he'd be able to continue having events despite growing concerns. As sports leagues across the world began to cancel seasons, Dana White began work on a plan that would enable a safe zone for his fighters to continue events despite continued global restrictions. That dream came true with Fight Island!
To dive into the idea of a Fight Island, you have to first understand the context of a venue like this. If the idea of an island dedicated to the world's elite martial artists squaring off in an exotic location doesn't bring you back to thoughts of Bloodsport then you may want to ask yourself of you are a true fan or not.
Where is Fight Island?
Fan art by Deviant Art for Fight Island
Since this idea became a reality, many have been wondering the actual of location of Fight Island. We now know that UFC's Fight Island will reside as part of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The location should not have been a surprise, considering that a company closely related to the UAE government called Flash Entertainment once owned as much as 10% of the UFC.
Yas Island is a man-made island. The island is also home to Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Brothers World Abu Dahbi. The Fight Island feature will make a nice addition to this already sprawling complex in the Persian Gulf.
How Does This Keep Fighters Safe?
Yas Island which will feature UFC's Fight Island
The idea behind creating this venue was to establish a "safe zone" for fighters during events. The island remains relatively private and closed to the public. The island's "safe zone" allows only those affiliated with the UFC to enter. The UFC staff for this period consists of around 630 people in addition to fighters and their limited corners. The UFC estimates that around 3,300 antigen tests for COVID-19 will be performed during this time.
Fight Island Octagon
The arena will also feature an octagon with an extended size. The Fight Island octagon will be 30 feet across in contrast to the Apex arena's 25 feet width. Apex arena in Las Vegas has held a hand full of events since the restrictions related to COVID-19 began.
What About The Facilities?
The facility has generated a rigorous plan for testing prior to events. All people in attendance have to travel from a designated hub airport. Each fighter has to complete a COVID test prior to leaving and quarantine overnight until test results arrive. Upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, the fighters are again tested for COVID and quarantined until their results come back negative. If they are positive, they are escorted to a designated hotel to await treatment or travel arrangements home.
Map of Fight Island complex on Yas Island
Those attending the events have no shortage of facilities upon arrival. They have access to some of Yas Island's other attractions for entertainment. Each team also receives training facilities and stays at one of two hotels, The W or the Crown Plaza. In total, seven hotels are utilized for those in coordination and participation in UFC events along with the restaurants and amenities they all offer.