UFC 253 — which is set to take place on Sept. 19, 2020 — was originally expected to go down on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. While not confirmed, UFC president Dana White teased the 185-pound title fight to take place on “Fight Island” just 10 days ago. But it seems as if Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa may not have to be taking the long trip to Abu Dhabi after all.
According to a report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is seeking permission from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to promote the event for the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For most fight fans, it really doesn’t matter where the fight takes place at this point since no is allowed in the arena to watch it anyway due to COVID-19. For fighters it’s an entirely different story, as the flight could be much longer or shorter depending on their respective location.
“Fight Island” was created specifically to allow UFC’s international fighters to put some work in due to the travel restrictions in the US. So unless Dana White and Co. have some sort of special travel exemption from President Trump himself, the move is a odd one since Costa lives in Brazil and Adesanya in New Zealand. That, or perhaps the promotion has plans to move fights around.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was originally set to return on Sept. 19, but after his father died of COVID-19 complications, “The Eagle” postponed his return and will now fight Justin Gaethje on October 24 at a location to be revealed at a later date. There’s no telling if those change of plans had anything to do with UFC’s decision to move UFC 253 to Las Vegas.
At this point it’s all a guessing game as to what’s really going down at UFC headquarters, but it seems that for the time being, UFC 253 will take place in the promotion’s APEX facility — which boasts a smaller cage — in the “Fight Capital of the World.”
No, not that one.