Dana White reacts to new U.S. vaccine travel mandate: ‘Fight Island will be hopping again’

The UFC notified international fighters in a memo this week that all travelers coming into the United States starting on Nov. 8 must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with proof of vaccination.

The fight promotion will not require any fighter on their roster to get vaccinated for COVID-19, but alerted them that there will likely be obstacles entering the country if not vaccinated starting early next month. The new guidelines were announced by The White House on Friday.

“Recently the U.S. government announced that beginning on November 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status to fly to the United States,” UFC officials said in the memo. “Fully vaccinated travelers will also be required to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel prior to boarding their flight.

“This policy also applies to foreign nationals crossing the land borders with Canada and Mexico or arriving in the United States by passenger ferry. To be clear, this is NOT a UFC policy. UFC is not requiring you to get vaccinated. We are simply communicating the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government.”

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During the Dana White’s Contender Series Post-fight Press conference on Tuesday, UFC president Dana White addressed the memo, the mandate, and what it all means for the organization.

“I’ve been telling you guys through this whole thing… I said I have no idea how all this nuttiness is going to play out, but here we go,” White said. “I think Fight Island is going to be hopping again.”

At the beginning of the pandemic restrictions, the UFC, as well as every other major sporting league, was forced to cancel events. The fight promotion was the first to return, but had limited locations and venues to host fight cards.

One of the places the UFC held events in 2020 was “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. They held nine events in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and kicked of 2021 with three events in the UAE capital.