The incredible magnitude of the UFC’s Fight Island project has been revealed ahead of four upcoming events in Abu Dhabi.
Forced to take drastic action by the coronavirus crisis, the organisation launched their ambitious plan to hold events on Yas Island, where 10 square miles have been set aside to to stage the shows. There’s even an octagon on the beach.
And now a video has been released by the UFC, exposing the gigantic logistical undertaking with the frantic rush to have everything in place for the first event on July 12.
A 10 square mile complex has been set up on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi for the UFC to use
There is even an octagon on the beach as part of the UFC’s takeover of the Abu Dhabi hot spot
The massive logistical undertaking will be completed soon, according to local organisers
UFC 251 – July 12
UFC Fight Night 172 – July 16
UFC Fight Night – Benevidez vs Figueiredo II – July 19
UFC Fight Night 174 – July 26
The clip shows employees in hazmat suits taking temperatures of those accessing the UFC’s private 10-mile bubble.
There has been extensive testing for coronavirus with 2004 tests completed so far and the company have 17 medical staff on site across three separate facilities.
The venue itself is still under construction with 740 workers racing to complete the structure.
More than 400,000 man hours have already gone into the job, 18km worth of cables fitted and a staggering 350 tonnes of metal used on the facility.
In total 640,000 square metres have been covered by the building that will be home to the world’s leading MMA promotion in the coming weeks.
UFC president Dana White added a video of his own, showing time lapse videos of the construction of the octagon on the beach, police checkpoints and even roads being built especially for the complex.
Fight Island is located in an area of Abu Dhabi which has been described as a billionaire’s playground.
Yas Marina Circuit is a sprawling race track has hosted the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in since 2009 and there is also a world class golf course near the beach.
Ferrari World, Seaworld Abu Dhabi – which is a project still under construction – and a huge water park are other attractions.
And now the island is home to the UFC for four events. It seems unlikely that the octagon on the beach will be used for the fights themselves and is merely a promotional tool.
The temperature is oppressive in July and can reach highs of 42 degrees, averaging around 35 degrees, so an air conditioned arena is far safer for fighters to perform in.
Local organisers say the construction is almost complete for the July 12 start with the other shows taking place on the 16th, 19th and 26th of the same month.
There are 17 medical staff at three separate facilities ensuring a sterile environment
There are 400,000 man hours that have already gone into construction of the venue
UFC president Dana White is hosting the events on the island as a grand contingency plan
UFC Fight Island Part 2!! I can’t wait to get there. #YasIsland #InAbuDhabi
A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on
‘When the handover happens from the team currently working on the site for the UFC Fight Island ‘bubble’ on July 2, then Fight Island is basically secured – the barricades are up and no one’s in or out,’ Saeed Al Saeed, destination marketing director told the National.
‘Then we’ll start receiving the first international guests that will also undergo their set of precautionary measures. So July 2, the island goes into lockdown fully, which means from then we’ll be completely prepared to host the UFC.
‘This is currently the safest place in the world, bar none,’ he said. ‘This is the first Covid-19-free bubble in the world, and we’re very proud to announce that’s coming out of Abu Dhabi.
‘I can’t imagine anyone going to such extreme ends to make sure the people that are involved in a singular event are safe and taken care of.’
The four events will be broadcast to the world but no fans will be allowed in the arena
The UFC 251 card will be topped by Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns for the welterweight title
The fight cards due to take place on the island are stacked full of entertaining match-ups with three title contests at UFC 251, the first event.
Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight crown against Gilbert Burns in the headline act, and is preceded by Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway for the featherweight belt.
There’s also a bantamweight title on the line with Petr Yan fighting Jose Aldo while British favourite Darren Till meets Robert Whittaker on July 26.
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