As many parts of the United States start reopening businesses and loosening quarantine restrictions, sports have become one of the driving narratives of our push to regain some sort of normality. When will baseball players get back to the diamond, basketball players hit the court, football players return to the gridiron?
Leading that conversation, with the full blessing of President Donald Trump, is the UFC. The world’s largest MMA promotion has been aggressive in their attempts to maintain their busy 2020 schedule all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Even going so far as to secure the use of a private island so that they can host future cards without government interference.
It’s a plan so ostentatious, so ridiculous on its face, that John Oliver and the Last Week Tonight crew couldn’t help but poke some fun at Dana White’s “insane workaround” to the problem of getting international fighters to the Octagon—during a recent episode focused on sports and the coronavirus pandemic.
Oliver also spent a lot of time talking about Vince McMahon’s WWE events during the pandemic, as well as slap fighting, college sports, and some real legitimate concerns of stadium employees and other sports adjacent jobs that are feeling an especially hard financial pinch at the moment.
The show also took a deep dive into the potential for leagues to create ‘bubble’ seasons where teams and players would spend the entire season isolated in hotels while playing their games in a single location without fans. And the potential extreme logistics that actually delivering on those kinds of plans would require.
If the UFC stays on track, don’t be surprised if Fight Island shows up a few more times in the broader media outside their own MMA bubble.