When “Fight Island” was first announced, it became a huge talking point on late-night shows, especially with the coronavirus pandemic at its peak. UFC President Dana White not only found a location for “Fight Island”, but the UFC will be hosting four events over the next few weeks there.
One of the main detractors of the cause has been John Oliver. The host of Last Week Tonight discussed the idea of “Fight Island”, and even recommended the UFC name it “UFC-Sea” in a sarcastic manner. White would then comment on the clip that was shared all over social media, during a time when the UFC was hosting events in Florida, stating:
“I like John Oliver, I think he’s funny. But this is a perfect example of how you can control the narrative by using selective facts. We did approximately 1,100 tests, only 3 were positive, it was a fighter and his 2 trainers and we had 3 events NOT 1.”
White went through with it and trademarked “UFC-Sea”, initially stating that Oliver won’t get a cut of the money. Oliver responded by taking an old UFC trademark, “You Will Submit”, that was expired, and put it on baby onesies for sale. White has since responded, via TMZ, but in a unique way.
White revealed that all of the proceeds from a “UF-Sea” shirt, which are on sale now for $35.00 through the UFC Store, will go to one of Oliver’s favorite charities.
“He was making fun of ‘Fight Island’ and basically saying ‘this idiot is going to build an island where people can fight during COVID-19 and all that stuff. I’m actually a John Oliver fan I went out and I trademarked – he said you should have just called it ‘UFC-Sea’ – so I trademarked ‘UFC-Sea’, but he went out and bought a trademark of ours that had lapsed and he’s actually doing baby onesies that say ‘you will submit’ or something like that.
“My t-shirts are done. These (UF-Sea) are going to go up for sale on the UFC website. They’re going up this week and all proceeds to these t-shirts, I did some research and John Oliver, one of his big charities is the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The Woodruff Family Foundation’s mission is to ensure injured post-9/11 service members, veterans, and their families are thriving long after they return home. So that’s one of his big charities, so all the money from the UF-SEA shirts are going to go to one of John Oliver’s charities.”
It is unknown if Oliver will respond on his show. Yas Island in Abu Dhabi will host “Fight Island”, with the first event on July 11. UFC 251 will feature Kamaru Usman v. Jorge Masvidal for the UFC Welterweight Title, Alexander Volkanovski v. Max Holloway in a rematch for the UFC Featherweight Title, and Petr Yan v. Jose Aldo for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Title.