PREPARATIONS for UFC FIght Island are almost complete with the area due to go into lockdown from July 2.
Local organisers in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, say the “final stages” of the operation are nearing completion ahead of the huge month of events.
The action gets under way on July 12 with the UFC 251 pay-per-view followed by shows on July 16, 19 and 26.
All four events will be staged at Flash Forum, which sits inside a 25km safe zone that will house everyone involved in running Fight Island.
Over 2,000 coronavirus tests, spanning over three rounds, have already been completed to those based in UAE, with those individuals quarantined for the past fortnight.
A host of international arrivals will begin descending on the Middle East from July 4, including fighters and UFC staff, and they will also undergo extensive Covid-19 testing on site and have to spend a period in quarantine.
Saeed Al Saeed, destination marketing director at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, told The National:“We’re in final stages of everything coming to fruition.
“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.
“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.”
After staging UFC 242 last September, Al Saeed claims Abu Dhabi was an “easy choice” for UFC president Dana White to stage events throughout the pandemic after the two parties agreed a five-year agreement last April.
He said: “I think when [UFC president] Dana White was looking for an island, Abu Dhabi was a very easy choice.
“The government response to the Covid-19 pandemic made it the only destination that’s ready and prepared to host something like this, to create the safe zone, this bubble for Fight Island.
“So the collaboration is proving a successful one. We’re working very closely with the UFC to deliver the best experience for everyone involved. And the proof is the fight cards.”
And Al Saeed claimed Fight Island would be the “safest place in the world” over the next month.
He said: “This is currently the safest place in the world, bar none.
“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.
“We have a rapid and organised response to anything that may come up. We have state-of-the-art medical facilities, all the precautionary measures in place to make sure nothing happens.
“Of course, I’d rather not mention any of this because it’s something we’re not even thinking we will have to deal with. But, if something does happen, you won’t be in a better place to be taken care of.”
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