Securing An Island For Fights

Only Dana White.

Jim Rome
April 07, 2020 - 9:20 am
Dana White

USA Today

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With Khabib stuck in Russia and officially out of UFC 249, Tony Ferguson did not have an opponent for the April 18th card. But now that has been resolved with Justin Gaethje stepping in and officially signing on for the fight.

Gaethje tweeted: #forthepeople I’m terrified and I bleepen love it. #ufc.  He should be.  He’s taking the fight on 12 days’ notice, something he is on record as saying he doesn’t like to do: and he’s going against one of the most dangerous people on the planet. in Ferguson; and a guy who has had the benefit of a full camp.  So this is either one of the most reckless or badass, or both decisions you’re ever going to see. 

And the two will fight for the interim lightweight belt. But the fact that Gaethje has officially signed on isn’t even the most interesting headline from the UFC in the last few hours.

Because now that we have two fighters at the top of the card, the issue is no longer who is on the card, but WHERE the card will be.

UFC 249 was originally going to be held in Brooklyn, but with coronavirus that was no longer possible. For the last few weeks, there had been rumors that it might be overseas. Or maybe on the West Coast. Or at a UFC facility.

Yesterday, Dana White offered up some clarification.  As only Dana could… tweeting that the fight would be “somewhere on Earth.”  Well, that certainly narrows it down.  My man! 

 But Dana’s got details. And One of them is that he has the location locked up for the next two months and as Dana told TMZ, the plan is to "be pumping out fights every week.”  And no clones, I don’t see how would be or should be any interest to number 6: leave it alone: those takes were tired 20 years ago: they’re not seeing the light of day today. Stay on point. Back to Dana’s details. Here’s another one. And consists of just two words: no so much a detail as an actual hint. And those two words are: PRIVATE ISLAND:

I repeat: Private Island.

Don’t believe me? Listen to the man himself break it down for Brett Okamoto.

I’m not sure what’s a more amazing sentence: “I’ve also secured an island.”

Or simply: “I’ve got an island.”

Those are both amazing statements. And the whole thing is one hell of a move.

Headliner out? Find a new opponent.

Global pandemic? Find a private island.

Global pandemic that has shut down nearly the entire globe? Pssst, please.

Just find a private island and we’ll fight it out there.

A private island for fights. That doesn’t sound like something from real life, it sounds like something from a Bond movie. Or a Van Damme movie. Or hell, the greatest martial arts movie ever, Enter The Dragon, starring the greatest martial artist ever: Bruce Lee: they had a tournament on a damn island. That’s what this. Even if it sounds like a damn Joaquin email.

An island. A private island where you’re just "pumping out fights every week” is one of the most unbelievable ideas ever. And only Dana White could come up with it. Or have any shot at pulling it off. 

Just bringing fighters in by plane or boat or seaplane or hovercraft or teleportation, having them throw down, and then they leave the island? It’s like Survivor meets The Ultimate Fighter meets a sci-fi film.

It doesn’t even sound like a real idea. It sounds like something that comes up in brainstorming session. Someone stands up at a white board and is saying, how do we solve this problem? Come on people, there’s no such thing as a bad idea!

And the someone says, “How about a private island for fights?”

And then everyone is like, “Doug, that’s a terrible idea.” And Doug tries to play it off like he was joking.

Except this isn’t a joke. Dana is serious about this. He has secured an island. And now that he has the island, he’s building the infrastructure to stage regular fights there. Like every damn week.

I repeat: he’s secured an island and he’s building infrastructure. That’s something you hear a general say, not the president or commissioner of a sports league.

I know the NBA and MLB have had some wacky ideas floated out there, but I haven’t heard about Adam Silver or Rob Manfred talk about securing islands and building infrastructure.

I’ve been in this business a long time and I have never heard an idea like this before. I take that back, I’ve heard ideas like this before, but nobody has ever announced plans to actually carry them out.

Remember that really weird idea for the Tampa Bay Rays to play half their home games in Montreal? The one where you’d have a baseball team playing half its home games in one country and the other half in another country? That was bat-bleep crazy. 

And yet that seems way simpler and way easier than Hammer Fist Island. Or Choke Hold Reef. Or fish hook Key. Strike that, no fish hooking. 

But Dana is going for it. He has battled like crazy to keep this card alive, through a global pandemic, and the champ pulling out, and he refused to give up. Or give in. And best believe, He’s not falling in line with everyone else, shutting it down and coming back again in a couple months. Hell no. He didn’t get where he’s gotten with that sort of mentality.  He’s securing an island and going for it right now. 

But that doesn’t mean that it will be easy. And that doesn’t mean it’s going to come off…and I say that despite the fact I never bet against Dana White.  But…It’s not just a matter of securing a private island – and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say on this show.

But it’s true. It’s not just a matter of securing a private island. There are the issues of transportation, health, and safety. There are the issues surrounding determining who can be on the island and who can’t.

And the fact that the Association of Ringside Physicians released a statement yesterday that read in part:

“It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.”

That is another challenge, because while it is a recommendation and not a ruling, the UFC will have to find doctors who would be willing to ignore the recommendation. But knowing Dana, I’m guessing he has that sorted out already.

If you can secure a private island, you can probably secure a few doctors.

I am not sure that anyone has ever worked harder than Dana White has worked to keep UFC 249 going. And now he’ll just be pumping out fights ever week in the middle of a global pandemic.

You have you tip your cap, Dana White will not be stopped. If you didn’t know it before, you know it now: Dana White is an absolute force of nature. I’m not sure anyone can pull this off but if it can be done, Dana’s the man to do it.

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