The UFC is back on Fight Island.
Dana White, the promotion’s president’s ambitious idea to plough on through the pandemic in 2020 moved their operation to sunny Abu Dhabi where the highest safety protocols were in place to ensure fights could be put on and everybody remained in work.
The base on Yas Island is where fighters, staff, media – and now fans – will descend to see the first main event of the year when Conor McGregor takes on Dustin Poirier.
But first, there’s two other cards before that, beginning with Max Holloway against Calvin Kattar.
Where is UFC ‘Fight Island’?
It is located on Yas Island, an island born in 2009 which is located just off the Abu Dhabi coast. It spans an area of 9.6 square miles.
Yas Island is no stranger to hosting sporting events, and is the home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Warner Bros World, Ferrari World, Yas WaterWorld and Yas Marina Circuit are all located on the island.
Previously, an 11km stretch of Yas Island will be lockdown for the UFC events, with borders and police checkpoints, allowing no entry to Abu Dhabi residents.
Who has fought there so far?
The first of four events on Fight Island took place on 11 July 2020.
UFC 251 saw Kamaru Usman defend his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal, Petr Yan win the vacant bantamweight belt and Alexander Volkanovski keep his featherweight crown.
In addition, Israel Adesanya, Holly Holm and Khabib have competed there since, with the latter announcing his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje.
What venue will host?
The Flash Forum played host, but now a limited number of fans are going to be in attendance, the Etihad Arena is the chosen venue.
talkSPORT.com is in Abu Dhabi and witnessed the octagon being built and social distancing measures being put in place at the 18,000-capacity location. However, this is more likely to be around 2,000 on fight nights.
When will Conor McGregor appear on ‘Fight Island’?
He is due to face Dustin Poirier in a rematch of their 2014 fight on 23 June.
Both are already there and McGregor is eyeing a quick victory.
He has famously predicted the outcome of many of his fights in the past and in the process earned himself the nickname ‘Mystic Mac’.
“I love Dustin, he’s a good fighter. [Maybe] he’s even a great fighter, but great is still levels below me. I will knock Dustin out inside 60 seconds,”
How many fans will be there?
All three Fight Island events culminating in UFC 257 will have a limited number of fans in attendance.
It will be the first time since March that a UFC event will have a live crowd.
However, spectators will have strict instructions, as explained on the Etihad Arena’s website.
Rules for fans
Spectators in the Etihad Arena must agree with and abide by the following conditions. Failure to do so will result in no entry
1. Upon arriving to the venue entrance, all spectators will undergo a check of their valid 48-hour PCR test, thermal scanning and ticket checks. Spectators will have to present the AlHosn App OR a medical center report for the valid 48-Hour PCR test
2. Any spectator showing signs of high fever or does not have a valid 48-hour PCR COVID-19 test will be denied entry with no refunds to their ticket
3. Wearing a face mask is always mandatory within the venue, even when seated
4. Adhere to social distancing guidelines in and around the venue
5. Contactless payments are required
6. Food and non-alcoholic beverages can be ordered from your seat and through hawkers or via physical concessions at the venue
7. Alcohol will be available through hawkers and physical concessions at the venue
8. Sanitisation of the venue will take place prior to the event
9. Sanitisers are placed around the venue
All security and COVID-19 checks will take up to 1 hour before entry so please plan your trip accordingly.