The UFC has been able to promote multiple events in Las Vegas since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, but the organization’s president Dana White recognizes that future events in the state of Nevada can’t be guaranteed.
As COVID-19 cases spike in many states, there’s widespread concern that a second wave of lockdowns might be necessary. If such a lockdown were to occur in Nevada, even audience-free events at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas could become impossible.
Luckily, White has a plan if that’s the way things shake out.
Tonight, the UFC will promote its second of four events on the much discussed “Fight Island” — Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. If events in Las Vegas become impossible, White says we could be seeing many more events from Fight Island.
“My back up plan would be ‘Fight Island.’ We might be living here,” White said during a recent media in Abu Dhabi (via MMA News). “Anything is possible. If Nevada shuts down and doesn’t allow us to do fights in Nevada, I am going to be spending a lot of time in Abu Dhabi.”
White added that he’s optimistic this plan won’t be necessary, as he believes the UFC has shown it can safely promote fight cards out of its Apex facility during the pandemic.
While the UFC has been operating under extreme strain during the coronavirus pandemic, the promotion has pulled off multiple events in Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and now Abu Dhabi. The promotion’s latest card, UFC 251, reportedly sold 1.3 million pay-per-views, making it the most successful event since UFC 229 in October, 2018.
White, unsurprisingly, is proud to have pulled such a successful event off.
“It was a very successful event,” White said when asked about the UFC PPV buy rate for UFC 251. “We’re happy. This thing killed it across the board in every way you could possibly kill it. It was awesome. The thing did really well.
“It all came together perfectly. It was a major success. Everybody’s healthy. It’s all good. Literally not one negative thing that I could point out.”
Do you think Dana White will end up spending more time in Abu Dhabi than he originally expected?