Dana White’s plans for his extraordinary ‘Fight Island’ are gathering pace with the UFC President hoping to have it up and running by June.
White has already organised four shows to take place in the United States this month, with the rescheduled UFC 249 kicking things off behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9.
The American confirmed his ambitious plans to host international fights in a mystery, private location to isolate away from the coronavirus pandemic on an ‘ask me anything’ on Reddit. Sportsmail takes a look at everything we know so for about his proposed ‘Fight Island’.
UFC President Dana White hopes to have his ‘Fight Island’ up and running by the start of June
Why is Dana White creating a ‘Fight Island’ and what is it?
The coronavirus crisis has put a halt to shows with fighters from different countries. Tony Ferguson was supposed to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov in UFC 249 but the latter was unable to leave his homeland of Russia.
Justin Gaethje has stepped in for the rescheduled event but fighters across the whole card are predominantly US-based.
White’s aim is to host shows that would see fighters from across the world compete against each other but needs a remote location to bring them together.
The format has not been revealed but White confirmed the Ultimate Fighter would not take place on the island.
White’s aim is to host shows that would see fighters from across the world take part in fights
Where is the island located and what will be on it?
White has been tight-lipped on where the island is based, telling fans he ‘can’t send location yet’.
But he has revealed there will be an octagon on the beach that will host the fights.
He told ESPN there would be training facilities and hotels with ‘top class infrastructure’ for the fighters.
‘Fight Island should be up and running in June,’ he said last month.
‘So I should be able to start running international events in June.
‘We really are putting an octagon on the beach. There’s going to be training facilities there for people.
‘There are hotels. And the whole island is going to be built, all the infrastructure is going to be built for the UFC to come do fights there.’
White has been tight-lipped on where the island is, telling fans he ‘can’t send location yet’
Who could compete?
Two big names who have been linked with competing on the island are bitter rivals Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
The pair have a long history, having already fought twice with the score level at one win apiece.
Diaz choked McGregor out in their first encounter at UFC 196 before the Irishman responded with a victory of his own at UFC 202.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani believes a third clash could come about following Ferguson’s fight with Gaethje.
He explained: ‘If Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje actually happens on May 9, I feel like Nathan Diaz will be the big winner.
‘How so? Well, let’s say Ferguson beats Gaethje. That should guarantee a Ferguson-Khabib Nurmagomedov fight in the fall, right? It would also knock Gaethje out of a top rankings spot. Who was Gaethje supposed to fight in July? Conor McGregor. No chance they do that fight if Gaethje is coming off a loss, right?
Bitter rivals Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have been linked with competing on the island
‘OK, what if Gaethje wins, you ask? Then he fights Nurmagomedov, right? Again, freeing up McGregor.
‘Now, in this scenario they could do Ferguson vs. McGregor, but I also feel like either May 9 scenario opens the door to make the trilogy fight between Diaz and McGregor.
‘So, if May 9 [Ferguson vs Gaethje] actually happens, don’t be surprised if Diaz emerges as a player in the McGregor sweepstakes.’
If White’s Fight Island will, as he claims, be up and running by June, McGregor and Diaz could be one of the mouth-watering bows.
The Irishman laid down the gauntlet to his rival after his stunning 40-second victory over Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
‘Let’s go Nathan, let’s go brother! Number three, it’s always here, so, we’re right here Nathan.’
Two British fighters, Nathaniel Wood and Joanne Calderwood have already said they would be interested in competing on the island.
British fighter Nathaniel Wood has already confirmed he would be interested in taking part
How long will Fight Island last?
It was originally thought that Fight Island would be a one off but White seems to believe it will be a regular event.
Sport may need to adapt how it hosts competitions in the future as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic.
White said: ‘It’s gonna be interesting how this thing plays out over the next year or so, which is exactly why the investment into fight island makes so much sense for me.
‘Who knows how sports will change after this pandemic… it’s gonna be an interesting year. Fight Island is going to be around for a while.’
The UFC president has said Fight Island will be around for a while and become a regular event
What are the safety concerns?
White has acknowledged the difficulties he could face with fighters being able to return home after competing on the island, especially those from the US.
‘That’s gonna be a problem, the whole if you leave you gotta quarantine,’ White added.
‘Probably something we’re gonna have to deal with. Me too, I’m going over there. I’m probably gonna have to quarantine for two weeks before I come home. But this is gonna be the new world we live in.’