Dana White: ‘Fight Island will be hopping again’ after vaccine mandate for non-U.S. fighters

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Dana White thinks Abu Dhabi could be a more important player in the UFC’s future after news surfaced that international fighters will have to be vaccinated to enter the U.S.

On Tuesday, the promotion sent out a memo to all international fighters notifying them of a newly implemented requirement from the U.S. government. Anyone traveling to the U.S. from another country to fight, along with any corners or teammates they plan to bring, must be fully vaccinated to gain entry to the country.

Given the diverse nature of the UFC roster, the situation could lead to a massive overhaul to upcoming fight cards depending on athlete willingness to be vaccinated. The current vaccination rate among UFC fighters is unknown.

According to White, though, the UFC may shift some events overseas in the wake of this news. Abu Dhabi’s “Fight Island” has been an asset to the UFC throughout the pandemic, and with UFC 267 on Oct. 30 set to take place in the region, White said he’ll work on further planning.

“I’ve been telling you guys through this whole thing,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at DWCS 44 on Tuesday. “You’re like, ‘Hey, what about this, what about that?’ I said I have no idea how all this nuttiness is going to play out, but here we go. I don’t know. I think ‘Fight Island’ is going to be hopping again. Yeah, we’re looking to do more events (there) I’m going to Abu Dhabi next Wednesday, so I have a lot of meetings out there. I’ve been dying to walk you guys through what’s been going on in Abu Dhabi anyways, so, this trip I’ll get everything done, buttoned up and finished.”

Dana White’s Contender Series 44 took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event streamed on ESPN+.

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