Volkanovski in line for ‘mystery island’ title fight
UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski looks set to be catapulted into the craziest fight in Australian sports history, which includes being flown by private jet to a mystery island for his first title defence.
While most of world sport has been shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, UFC president Dana White has revealed his audacious plans to keep fights going both in the US and on, unbelievably, a private island.
White revealed on Tuesday he has not only secured an American location for UFC 249 on April 19 (AEST), but also a private island for those international fighters who are not allowed into the States.
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Sydney middleweight Robert Whittaker is also back in training and was eyeing a fight against Englishman Darren Till on an August Fight Night card in Dublin, Ireland.
Both events, it seems, could now be headed to UFC Island.
Speaking with TMZ, White suggested he was only "a day or two away" from securing a deal to hold UFC events on an undisclosed private island, with athletes flying in on chartered planes.
The idea is similar to one currently being discussed by the NRL Innovation Committee, which has been charged with getting the 2020 season resurrected in June as part of Project Apollo.
White, however, seems to have got there first.
Apart from having no fans in attendance, UFC Island will also subject anyone involved with the staging of events to strict coronavirus testing before and after shows.
"I have a private island that I've secured," White said on Tuesday. "We're getting the infrastructure put in now.
"So I'm going to do the international fights (there), with international fighters.
"We won't be able to get all the international fighters into the US, so I have a private island and I'm going to start flying them all in for fights from there.
"I'm a day or two away.
"We have all our own planes and everything to get the fighters."
White also confirmed UFC 249 would take place at an unnamed venue in the US, with Tony Ferguson to fight Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title.
Gaethje replaces lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is unable to leave Russia because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked about pulling the card together, White continued: "We've been working on this since the world fell apart.
"(But) every day when we would work on something, we would wake up the next day and the world would change.
"So this has definitely been the hardest thing I've ever tried to do - ever."
And as for the yet-to-be-announced venue?
"I've locked this venue up for two months," he said. "I'm setting up shop here.
"We're going to be pumping out fights every week.
"I'm also a day or two away from securing a private island … so from April 18 the UFC is back up and running."
Originally published as Volkanovski in line for 'mystery island' title fight