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Dana White reveals the origins behind ‘Fight Island’ and when he plans to promote cards there

UFC 202 Press Conference Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC will get very creative in the attempt to become the first major sport to begin promoting events again during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the organization was forced to postpone all upcoming events after receiving a request from their broadcast partners at ESPN, UFC president Dana White is still plotting for a return to action as soon as humanly possible.

In fact, White had previously revealed plans to hold fights on a private island somewhere outside the United States and that is still in the works despite the uncertainty when the UFC can begin promoting shows again.

“That’s why I’m telling all my guys not to worry. Cause Fight Island’s going to happen,” White told ESPN. “All the infrastructure’s 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.

“So once that’s all in place, you’re looking at a month. A month, 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.”

According to White, the origins behind “Fight Island” came from a brainstorming session with Endeavor co-CEO Ari Emanuel as two worked together to try and find a solution for athletes who were not able to travel to the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you put me in a box — I don’t believe that anything can’t be done,” White said. “Everything can be done under any type of circumstances. You just need to figure out how to get it done. That has always been my mentality. So if we got a place set up here in the United States and we were just running fights out of the U.S. with no international — this is a global business that we have here. We keep running just U.S. fights, we’ll smoke all the talent before we even get back to normal in the U.S. talent.

“We have to run both, international and local fights. So we got the local fights figured out. How do we run international? So Ari [Emanuel] and I came up with the island.”

White knows without the intervention from ESPN that he could begin promoting shows starting with UFC 249 but as soon as his broadcast partners give him the green light, he’ll be ready to go.

“It’s all coming together,” White said. “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.”

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