Dana White, President of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has said that the body is close to finding a new venue, a "private island" to hold matches for international fighters during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The mixed martial arts organisation had to postpone three events and will go ahead with its calendar of UFC 249 on April 18. White said that a new venue to host the event has also been found following the ruling out of the Barclays Center in New York. "I locked this venue up for two months. I have this venue for two months, and I'm setting up shop here. We're going to be pumping out fights every week," White told TMZ Sports.
Event despite the absence of fans
The flu-like virus has infected 1.27 million people globally and caused over 70,000 deaths and brought the sports world to a standstill, but the UFC plans to stick to its schedule albeit without fans in attendance.
With countries locking down borders and tightening travel restrictions, White said he had a way to get his stable of non-US based fighters back in action. "I'm also a day or two away from securing a private island ... we're getting the infrastructure put in now, so I'm going to start doing the international fights, too," he added.
Up and running
"I won't be able to get all of the international fighters into the US so I'm going to start flying them off into the island and do international fights there. "As of April 18, the UFC is back up and running."
White said that he planned to put on fights every week and that all fighters, support staff as well as UFC crew would be tested for the virus regularly. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet American Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 but he said last week the fight was off as he is in quarantine in Russia. Ferguson will now take on fellow American Justin Gaethje.
(With inputs from agencies)