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UFC 257: Will the Irish lockdown prevent Conor McGregor from travelling to Fight Island?

UFC 246 McGregor v Cowboy: Ultimate Media Day
UFC 246 McGregor v Cowboy: Ultimate Media Day
ANALYST
Modified 23 Dec 2020, 03:20 IST
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The Irish government has announced the country would go into a lockdown for the third time in a bid to curb the sharp increase in new coronavirus cases. However, the new rules will not affect Conor McGregor, or other elite level sports.

Ireland recently left their "level five" set of restrictions at the beginning of December, but the Christmas season saw a surge in cases of the disease. The Irish government decided to return with the rigid stipulations that will be implemented from December 24 and are set to remain in place until January 12.

McGregor, who lives in Kildare - 50 minutes away from Dublin, was recently seen playing football with their childhood football club in Crumlin, the neighborhood that McGregor was born, in the Irish capital.

Any gathering and inter-county travel are strictly forbidden with the new set of rules imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there are exceptions. Professional and elite sports are permitted to continue training and performing behind closed doors.

Ireland travel bans

The only travel ban currently imposed is against trips departing from Great Britain. Ireland announced that the ban is to continue at least until the last day of 2020. The Irish government ordered the ban in a bid to tackle the new strain of the coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom.

Ireland has other travel restrictions following the European Union traffic light travel system. Countries are ranked in three different colors that indicate the level of risk in each country in the political and economic zone. Traveling from Ireland can continue as usual.

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 locator form before entering the state. Passengers from countries ranked as red in the EU traffic system must quarantine for 14 days, exactly like any other travelers coming from countries outside the EU / EEA.

The United Arab Emirates, where Conor McGregor will fight next year in the UFC Fight Island, has introduced several measures to limit the spread of the virus. Eventual violation of instruction will be treated as a crime punishable by law.

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All passengers flying to the UAE will be required to provide a negative result from a coronavirus test carried in the previous four days. 

UFC 257 will take place in Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' capital. Called "Fight Island" for promotional reasons, this will be the eleventh UFC event to be held on the island.

UFC Fight Island

The search for a "private island" where the UFC could carry on with its events even with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic began in April.

Two months later, UFC president Dana White revealed that the promotion reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates government for the fights to be held in Yas Island, in the Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi.

Yas Island is one of the world's most popular leisure, shopping, and entertainment destinations. Besides the UFC complex, the island is also home to amusement parks, hotels, festivals, and other sports events.

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There is a ten square mile "safety zone" that is restricted for essential personnel. Without fans in attendance, the UFC does not have to consider the time their events take place and choose the most suitable for their pay-per-view targets.

UFC 257: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

Conor McGregor does not need to worry about the restrictions since professional sports have been given breaches and special rights in most countries.

Although McGregor's training and travel preparation might require a little bit more planning, the UFC star will have no legal problem in his journey to Abu Dhabi.

UFC 257 will take place in Fight Island, in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The main event of the night is the rematch between McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

McGregor, a former UFC lightweight champion, will face the number two contender in the division. Both fighters are eyeing an interim UFC lightweight title; or a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is expected to return from his retirement at some point.

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In their first bout in 2014, McGregor needed less than two minutes to defeat Poirier via KO. Since then, the Irishman became the promotion's most famous fighter and competed in different weight classes and even in different sports, with a boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather. As for Poirier, he matured into one of the best fighters in the UFC lightweight division, winning ten times since the fight with McGregor.

With many expecting the bout with Poirier to be the most challenging fight for McGregor since his loss to Nurmagomedov, UFC 257 will kick off the fighting year with one of the most electrifying matchups.

Published 23 Dec 2020, 03:20 IST
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