One of the hottest pieces of news to come out this week featured Dana White’s revelation about securing a private island for fights after UFC 249. Some found it ludicrous, while others were left amazed by the UFC president’s tenacity to soldier on amidst a global pandemic.
But island fights aren’t a new concept in mainstream MMA. One of them took place 13 years ago involving none other than the “West Linn Gangster,” Chael P. Sonnen.
The said bout took place on February 18th, 2007 in Costa Rica under Bodog, when Sonnen faced Tim McKenzie.
The 29-year-old Sonnen impressively got the job done without breaking a sweat. He faked a jab four seconds in, shot in for a double-leg, snapped McKenzie’s head down as a counter to the sprawl then got to the front headlock. He then went for an inside trip without hesitation before securing a modified D’arce choke to seal the deal.
The fight was stopped within 13 seconds of action and unfortunately left McKenzie in a stretcher. But Chael’s performance did grab the attention of both Bodog entertainment founder Calvin Ayre and UFC legend Royce Gracie.
As for the UFC’s planned island fights, what drew questions from Sonnen is the “infrastructure” that White purportedly has in place. What is on this island? Will there be a theater to house the fights? Or will it be done outdoors like how they did for UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi last year?
Sonnen calls it a “fascinating logistical mess,” and it would indeed be interesting to see how the big boss pulls this one off if he ever does.