The UFC has found a way to safely hold events amid COVID-19, removing fans from the equation and holding international bouts on Fight Island. Fans aren't allowed on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, but UFC President Dana White might make an exception for certain individuals. He revealed which three celebrities he will invite first.
Speaking with TMZ, White revealed who he will reach out to first once fans can attend Fight Island events. His early list includes Dwayne Johnson, as well as a Southern California-based rockstar. Officials in Abu Dhabi are currently considering allowing fans, but this not a guarantee just yet. Once he is allowed, White will begin sending out invitations.
"I have a list of people that, when I get it done, I'm gonna reach out to see if they're interested in coming to Abu Dhabi for the fights," White said. "Well, I haven't even put it together yet, but, definitely, obviously The Rock ... and [Red Hot Chili Peppers singer] Anthony Kiedis is a die-hard fan. Demi Lovato is a big fan. There's so many, but we'll shoot something out to all of them and see if they want to come."
In addition to speaking about the potential celebrity guest stars, White also detailed some future bouts. He said that he wants to have StipeMiocic vs. Francis Ngannou face off during a heavyweight bout in March. Additionally, he said that Nate Diaz is becoming more active in his text messages, which indicates that he is ready to fight again. However, White has not determined which fighter will face Diaz. He knows that it will not be Jorge Masvidal.
"Nah, somebody else," White said to TMZ. "I don't even know off the top of my head. But, if Nate was interested in fighting, they'd reach out, let us know, and then they'd probably let us know who they were thinking [as an opponent], and we'd try to figure out whatever it is we could."
While White is figuring out the next events on the schedule, he is still putting on attention-grabbing matchups. One example is Saturday's title fight during UFC 254. Interim titleholder Justin Gaethje took on the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov to unify the lightweight title. This fight took place on Fight Island, the home of several more events. However, fans did not attend UFC 254 due to the current coronavirus regulations in the Middle East.