Dana White Looking At Abu Dhabi To Stage More Fights Following U.S. Vaccine Mandate For International Travelers
The UFC might haul its fights overseas starting next month.
UFC president Dana White is considering holding more events in Abu Dhabi, also known as “Fight Island,” after the promotion sent a memo to all international fighters of a new implemented requirement from the U.S. government. Any UFC athlete coming into the U.S. from another country – whether it’s to fight or train – must be fully vaccinated and provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior entry to the country.
“I’ve been telling you guys through this whole thing,” White told reporters during the post-fight at Dana White’s Contender Series 44 on Tuesday. “You’re like, ‘Hey, what about this, what about that?’ I said I have no idea how all this nuttiness is going to play out, but here we go. I don’t know.”
“I think ‘Fight Island’ is going to be hopping again. Yeah, we’re looking to do more events (there).”
UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell, who sent the memo, obtained by MMA Junkie, emphasized it is “NOT a UFC policy” and that they are “simply communicating the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government.”
In response, White said the promotion may shift to some events overseas to avoid the U.S. requirement. Abu Dhabi’s “Fight Island” has been an asset to the UFC throughout the pandemic, staging 12 events while most of the U.S. was on lockdown.
UFC’s roster is made of fighters from all over the world. White has emphasized that he will not force fighters to get vaccinated.
The news and White’s stance on the topic leaves the effect on domestically held UFC fights in limbo. The promotion has been booking its lineups through mid-February.
Some fighters may not have vaccine options in their home country. The current vaccination rate among UFC fighters is also unknown.
“… This policy takes effect on November 8, leaving very little time to make arrangements if you are fighting on a UFC card in November,” the memo read.
“If you choose to travel to the U.S. before the new policy takes effect, you will need a waiver if you are traveling from one of the restricted countries. Please contact the UFC Immigration team at (redacted contact information) so we can ensure you have a valid travel waiver in place. … It is unclear at this time what parameters will be applied to U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) who are not vaccinated.”