Mixed martial arts: UFC boss Dana White teases New Zealand event as coronavirus solution

Fresh from UFC's 'Fight Island' debut, mixed martial arts supremo Dana White has hinted on a return to New Zealand this year, as he searches for a solution to the worldwide coronavirus toll on sport.

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and featherweight Alexander Vokanovski retained their crowns in front of a very limited number of spectators - all of them had undergone coronavirus testing - at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

After months of mystery surrounding the venue's location, fighters were able to avoid quarantine restrictions imposed around most of the world under pandemic conditions.

Afterwards, White was satisfied with the UFC 251 event, with another card scheduled at the same site later this week.

"It's been great, this is amazing," he said. "When you think about all the places we could go, there isn't a lot going on.

"The service, from the restaurants to the hotels… it literally can't be done better than this. Fight Island is tough to beat."

Before COVID-19 shut down world sport, this card was originally scheduled for Perth and when White was quizzed on the prospect of returning downunder, he seemed more interested in New Zealand than Australia.

"I'm hearing that New Zealand are doing things with fans," he said. "It's possible."

Asked if he thought Australian and New Zealand had enough talent to stage a full-blown UFC event, he responded: "Yeah, I do."

UFC has had to postpone several events during shutdown, but has staged those fights at alternative venues, albeit with no crowds.

In February, Auckland hosted a 'Fight Night' card that featured homegrown favourite Dan Hooker against American Paul Felder and included several other Kiwi MMA exponents.

Hooker is enthusiastic over the possibility of another home fight.

"It's something the UFC would have to do as a statement - to have the UFC back in front of a live audience, with fans shouting," Hooker has told Newshub.

"If anyone's going to do it, Dana White is the man to pull the trigger on it. There's nothing like a live audience for a UFC event."

Rather than stack the card with Kiwis and Aussies, Hooker thinks White is more likely to bring international fighters to take on the locals.

"If the card did go down, we'd have to get Aunty Jacinda to clear a few visas and let a few fighters in the country to make this thing a reality," he says. 

"Something tells me she's not the biggest UFC fan running around, but maybe we can change her tune."

Mixed martial arts: UFC boss Dana White teases New Zealand event as coronavirus solution