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UFC could let VIP fans attend ‘Fight Island’ shows

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Maybe it won’t be a totally fan-less environment at UFC shows in the long-term.

UFC 249 Esparza v Waterson Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

We are just one week away from the UFC unveiling “Fight Island,” which is just “Yas Island” but with a cooler sounding name.

With this being the promotion’s first venture outside the United States since mid-March, COVID-19 testing protocols have been tweaked and specialized travel plans have been arranged. There will be hotel dining areas, golf course, an Octagon on the beach (for training only), and other activities set for the UFC’s Yas Island “bubble.”

One very notable potential change for this month’s UFC shows is the reintroduction of fans.

Sort of.

In an interview with Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said that there is a possibility that a small number of “VIP” fans — no more than 24 people — could attend the fights in-person. The event would still obviously be closed to the public and one would assume physical distancing guidelines are still in place for those fans, but it’d be the first UFC show with any fans since UFC 248 on March 7th. It’d also presumably mean those VIP fans would be tested for COVID-19 before granted access.

Epstein is otherwise optimistic about how Fight Island will play out.

“Dana has had some great ideas over the years, but I think this one may be at the top of the list,” Epstein said.

Oh yes, and as far as the Octagon used for actual fights? That’ll be the standard 30-foot cage instead of the 25-foot one used over the past month at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas.