Brett Okamoto confirms that there will be no fans in attendance at UFC 254, apart from a handful of invitees. The UFC 254 card is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje, a unification bout for the Lightweight championship.
Khabib is one of the most popular fighters in the Middle East and thus the authorities were trying to get fans into the venue at Yas Island. The reigning Lightweight champion beat Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi last year.
Update on UFC 254: No fans, unfortunately. A plan that would have allowed additional fans in the building and put tickets on sale was not approved in time. There will be a small handful of invitees, but the atmosphere will essentially be the same as every other event, I'm told.
Fans will not be allowed into the arena to see Khabib compete
Saeed Rashed Al Saeed, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi's marketing director had previously hinted there might be live fans in attendance to see Khabib fight.
"We are currently studying how to bring fans into UFC 254. Right now we're going through how to segregate fans from people inside the bubble but still get them inside the space in the safe manner. If everything goes to plan we'll be announcing this soon. It's not confirmed yet but the plan is in place but it needs to be endorsed. I'm optimistic but health and safety cannot be compromised. That is our priority, it will not happen unless it is foolproof."
Currently, the Fight island, ie, the UFC occupied part of Yas Island, is restricted to the UFC staff, journalists and the fighters. UFC was the first promoter to organise events after the pandemic, leaving a blueprint for other organisations and sports.
The UFC 254 fight card is co-headlined by the Middleweight bout between former champion Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. The winner will likely face the champion Israel Adesanya for the championship next.
The headline bout will be Khabib's third defence of the Lightweight championship with the Russian angling for a fight against the legendary Georges St-Pierre next.Published 19 Oct 2020, 13:58 IST