- Ongoing demonstrations are ‘making it even more challenging’ for August 31 show, says UFC chief Dana White
- ‘I’ve started messing with flights and connections to get there,’ White says, with Zhang Weili set to become first Chinese fighter to challenge for title
UFC president Dana White said the Hong Kong protests are "messing with" the company's huge Shenzhen event, which is set to take place on August 31 despite the ongoing turmoil over the border.
But White admitted more issues such as the chaos that gripped Hong Kong International Airport earlier this week could cause problems for UFC Shenzhen.
"Yeah, it's definitely messing with the event. And definitely making it even more challenging," he told the UFC 241 post-event press conference at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California.
Flights were grounded for two days after anti-government protesters occupied the departures hall and blocked passengers from reaching the check-in area.
"I've already started messing with my flights and connections to get in there, especially after what happened the other day in Hong Kong. We're doing the card no matter what. Even if it's just me sitting out there watching the fights," White said.
Armed Chinese police held a drill that featured anti-riot exercises just across the border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen as the city's protests entered their 11th week.
The drill was the third such exercise this month as anti-government protests continue.
Some Hongkongers trying to cross the border into mainland China have reported being asked to unlock their mobile phones by immigration officers for the inspection of photos and videos related to the anti-extradition bill protests, which could cause issues for fans trying to travel to the UFC event at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre.
"No, there haven't been logistical issues but I'm making sure I get there no matter what happens, if something like what happened in the Hong Kong airport happens again. I'll find alternative routes, I'll be there no matter what."
The Shenzhen show is a huge moment for the UFC, who opened their state-of-the-art Shanghai Performance Institute last month.
Zhang Weili will become the first Chinese fighter to challenge for a title when she faces Brazilian strawweight champion Jessica Andrade.
"Me personally, I'm so excited for that fight. It's such an important fight not just for the division but both countries," White said.
"If Zhang wins and becomes champion, that's a huge deal for china. We all know Brazil, they love their champions and having titles, if Andrade wins win and keeps the belt, that's big."
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