What is UFC Fight Island? Everything you need to know ahead of UFC 251 this Saturday
UFC Fight Island is possibly the company’s most elaborate idea to date as they bid to stage dust-ups on a Middle Eastern beach.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the first weekend of Fight Island.
What is UFC Fight Island?
Fight Island is an idea spearheaded by UFC chief Dana White which has come about as a result of the extenuating circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the UFC have put on several shows behind closed doors in the US, White has been seeking a venue which can bring some of the excitement back the sport while fans are missing.
And he is now almost ready to bring Fight Island to fruition as it all kicks off this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
When is Fight Island starting?
Fight Island is starting this weekend with UFC 251 on Saturday, July 11.
The preliminary fights on the card will kick off at around 1am GMT (6pm ET) on Saturday night/Sunday morning, but the main event will not come on until at least 3am GMT (10pm ET).
UFC 251 will then be followed by three more Abu Dhabi shows on Wednesday, July 15, Saturday, July 18 and Saturday, July 25.
What is the testing procedure?
Everybody who flies out to Fight Island will be tested for coronavirus before they are allowed to board a plane.
If they test positive for COVID-19, they will not be able to go to the event - a rule which has led to a change of the main event at UFC 251 which you can hear more about below.
The fighters will also be tested several times while they are in Abu Dhabi and will not be able to fight if they test positive during their time there.
How can I watch Fight Island?
For UK viewers, Fight Island/UFC 251 is available to watch for free for BT Sport customers on BT Sport 1 from 1am (6pm ET) right through until 7:30am (12:30am ET).
It is not a pay-per-view event, however non-BT customers will obviously have to pay a subscription fee in order to watch.
What match-ups are on this weekend?
Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman are set to clash in the main event at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi this Saturday.
Usman was due to take on Gilbert Burns in the Middle East main event, but the Brazilian was forced out of the show when he tested positive for COVID-19 and Masvidal has stepped in on just six days notice.
Masvidal has won his last three fights, with the last coming against Nate Diaz in November.
The 35 year-old also holds the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history after he blew away Ben Askren in just five seconds.
Meanwhile, Usman has not lost an MMA bout for seven years, with his record currently standing at 16 victories and just one defeat.