Most people haven’t been able to leave the country for more than a year, so news of anyone making waves has been extra exciting for anyone living their travel dreams vicariously. Fortunately, MMA superstar Conor McGregor has been delivering more than anyone could have expected on his recent travels to the United Arab Emirates.
The fighter has made a name for himself beyond the world of Mixed Martial Arts, not least because of his flamboyant sense of style. His love of sharp suits, bright colours and bold prints has earned him a reputation for making a splash wherever he goes. He appears to apply this approach when abroad as well as in his domestic dealings, so it was no surprise that his recent trip reflected his characteristic flair for the dramatic.
The 2021 Fight Island championship was the perfect opportunity for McGregor to get back in the ring after the limited opportunities to fight over the last year. The line-up of contestants featured some of the biggest names in fighting, including McGregor’s opponent Dustin Poirier who had to make his way there from his home in the United States.
Editorial credit: Keith J Finks / Shutterstock.com
Fight Island is a Mixed Martial Arts competition that was hosted on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and 2021. While many people around the world were still in lockdown, the might of Ultimate Championship Fighting president, Dana White, combined with the exclusivity of Yas Island resulting in the idea for Fight Island: a series of events that would comply with Covid-19 restrictions.
The whole event took place on Yas Island, a leisure island and popular tourist destination in Abu Dhabi. The island is jam-packed with entertainment options, including a waterpark, a racing circuit, the world’s fastest roller-coaster, and it’s also home to Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. But none of this compared to the programme of events planned for the Fight Island extravaganza, not least because of the eagerly awaited bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
The two had fought before, in Las Vegas, where Conor McGregor won with a technical knockout in the first round. The tension was expected to be high as McGregor was expected to bring his all for the re-match, especially after a few furious Twitter exchanges with Poirier in the run-up to the fight.
There were a number of events that had been previously postponed which were able to take place during fight island, so fans were keen to see their favourite fighters competing again. The 2020 events took place within a bio-secure bubble, with no fans allowed at the actual fights, but the 2021 events were moved to the 18,000-seat Etihad Arena in order to allow 2,000 spectators to attend.
Conor McGregor makes an entrance
Those who enjoy Conor McGregor’s unique approach to publicity weren’t disappointed when his Fight Island travel plans were revealed. McGregor travelled from his home in Dublin to Dubai, before chartering an extravagant yacht to take him to Yas Island.
The yacht was just one element to an arrival that made waves all over the island. Conor McGregor’s nickname is ‘Notorious’ and it’s no surprise when you witness such incredible feats of showmanship.
The yacht he chartered came complete with living quarters comprising several bedrooms and spacious deck, including space for the star to meditate before his fight. It docked close to the Etihad arena where McGregor was scheduled to fight Poirier.
Not content with his indulgence in the most extravagant watercraft around, McGregor was chauffeured from the yacht to his hotel in a Rolls Royce with blacked-out windows. Ever the style icon, McGregor was beach-ready in brightly colored trousers that served as a reminder of the stunning weather.
Making a big entrance is Conor McGregor’s style, and many fans were looking on enviously as travel restrictions had prevented many other people from holidaying abroad. Watching Conor McGregor push the boat out, literally in this instance, was a welcome opportunity to get a taste of the high life, albeit second-hand.
Those who have had their plans scuppered by travel restrictions may be able to reschedule soon as more countries relax their restrictions. Those travelling for work may need to complete additional tests in order to move between countries. Anyone looking to come to the UK will also need to follow the latest guidelines for entering the country and quarantining as well as checking whether they need a UK visitor visa.
Anyone who is keen to start travelling again should check their passports and other travel document before planning a trip.
Jo Smith is a correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service, an organization of specialists who support visa applicants and offer advice and support for immigrants.
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