Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was forced to pull the plug on his UFC 249 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Tachi Palace Resort on April 18, 2020, after ESPN and Disney were pressured by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
But that hasn’t stopped the “real man” from moving forward with his “Fight Island” contingency plan, which is expected to provide an alternate location for mixed martial arts (MMA) events, accessible to both local and international talent.
“I’m telling all my guys not to worry because ‘Fight Island’ is going to happen,” White told ESPN. “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.”
The biggest complaint from fighters who were expecting to compete is that government restrictions blocking mass gatherings, an attempt at controlling the spread of coronavirus, have closed most mixed martial arts (MMA) gyms, leaving athletes with nowhere to train.
“Once that’s all in place, you’re looking at a month,” White continued. “I’ll have all that put together and guys can start training and can go there. I’m sure people are going to be ready to get out of their houses in another month and go to an island somewhere and train. It’s all coming together. It’s all going to happen. I could go next week but this is what it is and I’ll see you in a month.”
I guess now would be a good time to mention that it only takes one person to become infected with coronavirus to compromise the entire island. Testing before arrival sounds like an easy solution to that problem, but it doesn’t account for asymptomatic carriers who may not return positive before arrival.
“Anybody who shows up to this event, or is a part of it, is going to be safer than anyone sitting at their house,” UFC President Dana White recently told ESPN. “They’re going to have access to the best medical attention, the best doctors, the best treatment you could possibly get. You’re safer being at this event with me than actually being at home or going to the grocery store. I promise you that.”
We’ll find out soon enough.