Dana White insists his UFC ‘Fight Island’ is in the process of being built and will be able to host events in a month.
The highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Tony Ferguson was scheduled for the main event of UFC 249 this Saturday.
But after Khabib returned to his native Russia, Justin Gaethje was drafted in for an interim title fight and White was adamant it would take place on a private island.
Although the UFC president was forced to relent in his quest to host live sport after pressure from Disney and ESPN executives, the 50-year-old is still adamant ‘Fight Island’ remains a legitimate possibility.
He told ESPN: “That’s why I’m telling all my guys not to worry because ‘Fight Island’ is going to happen.
“All the infrastructure is being built right now and getting put in place. As we get closer to that, then I’ll start figuring out booking fights, getting guys ready.
“Plus, I can ship guys over there earlier, and they can start training over there, on the island.
“So, once that’s all in place – we’re looking at like a month – I’ll have that all put together, and guys can start training and can go there.
“I’m sure people are gonna be ready to get out of their houses in another month and go to an island somewhere and train.”
But what do we actually know about this mysterious location and who could fight there?
UFC 249 was set to take place on the tribal lands at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California after the initial plan t host the event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was scrapped.
Kings County, where the Tachi Palace is located, has issued a ‘shelter in place’ order for residents. However, this does not apply to sovereign tribal land, thus providing the perfect legal loophole for the fight to happen.
However, pressure from executives has put an end to those suggestions.
He added in his ESPN interview: “One thing I need to point out is that Tachi Palace in California, the Indian reservation, has had our back this whole time and has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight.
“Let me tell you this, when the world gets back to normal, the California event will be at Tachi Palace.
“I’m doing a fight there. I’m going to bring them a big fight, and I appreciate them standing with me in this thing.”
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Give a shoutout to your favorite #tachipalace dealer in the comments !
While the mantra of ‘anytime, any place, anywhere’ may well be stretched to the absolute limit during this period of time, there is one fight which seemingly could well be made for ‘Fight Island’.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya needs to get back on the good side of the fans after a disappointing fight last time out against Yoel Romero.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on his MMA Show, the New Zealander admitted he was excited by the prospect of fighting on international waters.
“Yeah, I’m in shape. I’ve kept everything around like 50, 60 per cent fitness. So I’m down to fight on a private Island in front of the Illuminati and slay someone,” Adesanya said. “That would be f****** gangster.”
“I’m ready to fight. We’ll see what happens with this show first, we’ll see if it actually goes… if it actually pulls off being like Fyre Festival cause you know, that’s another way it could go. But I have faith,” Adesanya added.
“I really think if there’s a time to step up — I actually talked to Dana a few days ago actually, cause I was just seeing him pop up in the news, I was like, you know what? Kudos to this guy for working at a time right now when he should be taking a rest like everybody else.
“And I just say, ‘Hey, thanks for trying to put this card together’. And he’s like, ‘Man, it’s the hardest s*** I’ve ever done’.
And it seems the reigning king of the middleweights could have an ideal challenger in former welterweight contender Darren Till.
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How the idea of “Fight Island” was born (via @bokamotoespn)
The Brit, who is currently keeping the entire world entertained with his hilarious social media antics during lockdown, told the Fight Disciples podcast he would be more than willing to fight on a private island.
“I know there are mixed opinions on it,” Till said. “I don’t know whether it’s good or bad. I don’t know whether to have an opinion on it.
“If you’re not allowed to go socialise, is it good to put an event on? Is it good to try to do it for the fighters and for the viewers to be entertained? F*** whatever. My little thing to say now mate is, ‘Opinions are like s***, everyone’s got one.’”
“Do I think I’ll fight?” Till added. “I mean, yeah if they call it up and say, ‘Let’s do it. We’ve got the island open. We’ve agreed to it now. You’re going to be the fourth event against Whittaker.’
“Yeah, I’ll fight.
“I can’t see any fights happening in the next three months. I don’t think we’ve even hit a proper lockdown yet. … Another few weeks and it’ll be one of them (orders) where you won’t be allowed to leave the house unless it’s essential.”