When UFC President Dana White first started talking about Fight Island it seemed like a reach.
The Las Vegas based promoter boasted of finding a remote picturesque location where combat would happen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fast forward and its fight week for the first bout at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
If the location wasn’t straight out of Enter The Dragon, the Middle East version, the main event itself is definitely legendary.
UFC 251 was supposed to be headlined by UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman vs. Gilbert Burns. However, Burns was diagnosed with COVID-19 making him ineligible to compete or travel.
This set up the showdown the fans really want to see and that the hood is salivating over. The UFC tapped current UFC BMF belt champ, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal who has big beef with Usman.
What The Game’s Been Missing
Both Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman are the missing links to a chain that can bind audiences of color to the sport of mixed martial arts.
Usman is the UFC’s first African born champion. The Nigerian laid the way for Israel Adesanya who came right after in the same year as the UFC middleweight champion.
In college, Usman wrestled in Iowa at William Penn University for one year, where he was an NAIA national qualifier in 2007. He then transferred to the University of Nebraska at Kearney and helped the school win its first-ever team title in 2008.
Usman earned NCAA Division II All-American honors all three years he attended UNK, and was a two-time national finalist. He became the NCAA Division II national champion at 174 lbs in 2010. Additionally, he was a University World Team member in freestyle wrestling in 2010.
He was a misunderstood by the fans early in his career with the Blackzillians but then he emerged after defeating Tyson Woodley for the strap and Colby Covington.
But he and Masvidal do not like each other.
Masvidal is a Cuban-American fighter from Miami. The protege of Kimbo Slice, he is the streets and came from the Backyard Brawls era in South Florida.
After a journeymen career, Masvidal began gaining notoriety with high profile wins over Nate Diaz, Ben Askren, and Darren Till. His KO finishes are legendary like his flying knee over Askren that was literally :05 seconds.
He is the inaugural winner of the novelty Baddest Motherf*&ker Belt (BMF) and is the fans new badass favorite.
MMA is a sport in evolution and its getting browner and more street by the day. Although, behind the scenes the organization is still has yet to reach a solid executive diversity meter, the talent of color is dominating.
The fans have spoken but is the organization paying attention?