The Rock Praises 'F'n Brilliant' Fight Island Ahead of Masvidal-Usman at UFC 251

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2020

Jorge Masvidal, left, talks to Dwayne
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Count Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson among the biggest advocates for UFC's Fight Island, which will host UFC 251 on Saturday.

In an interview with ESPN, Johnson heaped praise on UFC President Dana White and the entire Fight Island concept:

"The first thing that went through my mind is I text Dana and I said, "This if f'n brilliant. I love this idea.' ... Something we've all been trying to manage and mitigate is dealing with this pandemic and the ebbs and flows of it. It seems like we get it under control and then it comes back and kicks us in the gut. There's just so much happening globally. Take it back to the beginning of the year in that first quarter where we were all locked down and everything got put on hold... I think the company and Dana, they pivoted brilliantly and this idea of Fight Island, I think it's interesting. It's fun for the fans and this idea that fighters are going to fly to an island and they're gonna get in a cage and they're gonna do what they were born to do, which is fight, I love the idea."

Fight Island was conceived during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, as White and the UFC wanted to come up with a controlled environment in which events could be held.

UFC's Fight Island is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and it will be the venue of Saturday's UFC 251 event, which is set to be headlined by a UFC welterweight title match between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge Masvidal.

Gilbert Burns was originally supposed to challenge Usman, but he tested positive for COVID-19, and Masvidal stepped up to replace him just last week.

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Johnson is a longtime UFC fan, and he is an especially big fan of Masvidal. The Rock was present for the weigh-in between Masvidal and Nate Diaz prior to UFC 244 in November, and he presented Masvidal with the unofficial UFC BMF title when Masvidal beat Diaz by third-round technical knockout.

Masvidal is from Miami, Florida, and Johnson played college football at the University of Miami, which has helped bond them together.

As one of the biggest Superstars in WWE history, The Rock has learned a thing or two about promoting from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, and White's Fight Island concept feels like something straight out of the WWE playbook.

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