UFC president Dana White for weeks has been teasing a possible return to Fight Island to kick off 2021. On Tuesday, he confirmed those plans with a promotional video on his Instagram channel.
Announcing a contest to promote UFC whiskey sponsor Howler Head, White affirmed that the promotion would hold three events over eight days in its return to Abu Dhabi.
There will be two UFC Fight Night events followed by UFC 257 spanning one week on Fight Island.
The first Fight Night, on Saturday, Jan. 16, features former featherweight champ Max Holloway squaring off with Calvin Kattar. The second Fight Night, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, features a rescheduled bout between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev. On Jan. 23, UFC 257 marks the return of Conor McGregor in a rematch with former interim lightweight titleholder Dustin Poirier.
White re-ignited the sports world following the coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020 with a three-event, eight-day stint in Jacksonville, Fla. in May. All of the UFC’s events have since been held either at its own broadcast facility called the Apex in Las Vegas or on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Though coronavirus vaccinations are underway, experts say it will likely take several months before enough distribution counters the virus, making way for larger gatherings and crowds at live events.
White has insisted he will not welcome crowds back to UFC events until he can once again sell out an entire arena, foregoing partial openings.
This will be the UFC’s third stint on Fight Island, but likely won’t be the promotion’s last stint of the pandemic there.
UFC kicks off 2021 on Fight Island
|UFC Fight Night||Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar|
|UFC Fight Night||Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev|
|UFC 257||Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier|