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Sport 'Fight Island' chronicles: A first-hand account from Abu Dhabi

03:40  05 july  2020
03:40  05 july  2020 Source:   mmajunkie.com

Chris Gutierrez vs. Luke Sanders in the works for UFC event on Aug. 1

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Abu Dhabi 's relatively relaxed restrictions on international arrivals do not require visitors to enter isolation for 14 days, which White had described as The UFC is yet to officially confirm the location of " Fight Island ," but Abu Dhabi has been named by Brazilian outlet Globo, though the formal start date

UFC chief Dana White has confirmed its Fight Island will be located in Abu Dhabi and host four events next month including UFC 251.

Back in early April, UFC president Dana White first made mention of an island to host events centered around international fighters during the global coronavrus pandemic, and three months later it’s happening. Starting July 11 with UFC 251, the promotion will hold four events in 15 days on “Fight Island,” a.k.a. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

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How is the promotion pulling this off? What’s it like being part of this? What’s happening behind the scenes? MMA Junkie lead staff reporter John Morgan is on site to provide a first-hand account of the experience?

Check back for daily updates.

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Saturday, July 4

The arrival

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We arrived at the Abu Dhabi International Airport on Saturday, but just barely. It was about 11:50 p.m. local time when we landed (for reference, Abu Dhabi is eight hours ahead of Eastern Time).

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2 Inside the building of UFC's VERY ambitious Fight Island including an octagon on the BEACH Constructing Fight Island has been enormous logistical undertaking for the UFC There are 10 square miles for organisation to use on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi The incredible magnitude of the UFC's Fight Island project has been revealed ahead of four

White's extraordinary ' Fight Island ' venue has covered 640,000 square meters on Abu Dhabi 's Yas Island , built as a solution for the complex challenges "This experience is going to [be] so badass for my fighters and my staff. I can’t wait to get there." The first card on the island is scheduled to take

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Customs and immigration was a breeze – after all, we were the only plane arriving at the time, and of course the entire trip has been planned with the local government’s assistance. There was a thermal scanner that checked us as we passed, but otherwise there was minimal interference in our arrival. Leaving the airport, though, it became immediately clear how different this experience was going to be as opposed to the UFC’s May events in Jacksonville, Fla.

Masked staff members whisked us through the airport to buses waiting outside. This is my third trip to Abu Dhabi, but it’s the hottest one yet. As I write this, it’s 3 a.m. local, and it’s 93 degrees with 67 percent humidity, meaning a “feels like” temperature of 117 degrees. It’s going to be a warm few weeks – but fighters definitely shouldn’t have trouble cutting weight.

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Abu Dhabi 's Yas Island set to host UFC 251, three Fight Night events in July. Kevin IoleCombat columnist. White said he doesn’t expect to have to be quarantined after returning to the U.S. from Abu Dhabi . “A lot of the stuff that is coming out about [the coronavirus pandemic] is turning out to be

Saturday's fight in Abu Dhabi is for the UFC Lightweight Championship. After beating McGregor, this is Khabib Nurmagomedov's first title defence. UFC 242, with the main event of Khabib vs Poirier, begins at 7pm on Saturday night at The Arena in Yas Island . Watch Khabib vs Poirier exclusively live

As we loaded up on the buses, it was clear the drivers were taking their protection serious. Masks weren’t enough. There was an entire plastic curtain to shield them.

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Once the buses were loaded, we received a police escort from the local authorities to make the 10-minute drive from the airport to the hotel zone. Nice for ease of transportation, but it didn’t seem exactly necessary for our transit needs. I imagine it was more just to make sure everyone did stay on the bus and didn’t deviate from the plans. Plus, we didn’t even get the usual perks of a police escort! See this red light? We stopped at it and waited for it to turn green! Aren’t we supposed to get to run those with a police escort?

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Abu Dhabi rep: 'Fight Island' came at 'huge' cost but sets bar for sporting events around globe .
ABU DHABI – As the UFC readies to kick off a run of four events on "Fight Island," the government that partnered with the promotion to make it happen admits it wasn't an easy – or cheap – proposition. Saeed Al-Saeed, the destination marketing director of…Saeed Al-Saeed, the destination marketing director of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, said it took more than 20 different organizations, including several government agencies, Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, to pull off the feat.

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