Dana White wants fans to make their return to a UFC event at Conor McGregor’s long-awaited comeback against Dustin Poirier in January.
Fans have not been able to get close to the Octagon for months because of Covid-19 with UFC creating their own ‘Fight Island’ to safely stage events during the pandemic.
White created the temporary venue on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and has since held a number of fights there, including Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Justin Gaethje and Israel Adesanya’s victory against Paulo Costa.
Dana White has said he wants UFC fans to return for Conor McGregor’s comeback in January
White wants to take UFC’s ‘Fight Island’ and put it into the new Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi
But now White hopes to stage McGregor’s return, due to be held on January 23, in Abu Dhabi and has now revealed he hopes to take ‘Fight Island’ into the new Etihad Arena and open the doors to fans.
Speaking on Barstool Sports, White said: ‘It’s true. He (McGregor) has signed. It was never a concern, never like “uh oh, Conor hasn’t signed his fight agreements”.
‘When Conor McGregor says he wants to fight, then he shows up. I’m looking to make it international fight week.
‘The new Etihad Arena will be open and that thing was designed with us in mind. Concerts, pool parties, all kinds of cool stuff and yes, I hope to bring fans back.
‘So imagine this. All the things people have seen around the world with Fight Island, now you’ll finally get the opportunity to come, be a part of it and make it international fight week. Maybe with everybody. That’s what I’m shooting for.’
UFC decided to create their own ‘Fight Island’ to safely stage events during the pandemic
The Etihad Arena, which is due to open soon after its initial unveiling was pushed back by Covid-19, is the largest indoor multi-purpose venue in the United Arab Emirates.
Built on Yas Island, the same location as ‘Fight Island’, the arena boasts a capacity of around 18,000 but it remains to be seen how many fans UFC will be able to have at the fight.
It appears UFC events in the US still remain some way off, given infections continue to spread nationwide and deaths hit 250,000 on Thursday. The UAE has so far had just over 155,000 cases with just over 500 deaths.
McGregor officially put pen to paper on his fight agreement for his rematch with Poirier, due to take place on January 23, on Thursday.
McGregor has now officially signed his contract to fight Dustin Poirier on January 23
The pair first met in 2014 with McGregor knocking his opponent out in just over two minutes
The news was confirmed by the Dubliner’s own media outlet, The Mac Life, with the bout scheduled to take place at lightweight. Poirier already signed his contract last week.
The pair first met in the featherweight division at UFC 178 in 2014 with McGregor knocking his opponent out in just over two minutes.
However, Poirier is a different fighter now and sits No 2 in the 155-pound rankings, two spots above McGregor.
The ‘Diamond’ has won five of his last six fights, only losing to Khabib. McGregor, meanwhile, has fought just twice in the UFC since winning the lightweight title four years ago, also losing to Khabib before destroying Donald Cerrone this year.