COVID, UFC statement on UFC 249

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 20: A general view of the Octagon during Dana White's Contender Series season three week nine at the UFC Apex on August 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)

UFC updates COVID-19 protocol ahead of Las Vegas return

The UFC continues to adjust to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The promotion updated its coronavirus protocol ahead of UFC on ESPN 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, May 30. The UFC released the memo to fighters competing on Saturday. MMA Junkie was the first to report the details of the memo.

The event will take place inside the UFC Apex, although the promotion is still waiting for approval of the event by the Nevada Athletic Commission. 

CHANGES

According to the guidelines, all fighters and corners are required to take two COVID-19 antigen oropharyngeal swab tests before competing. The first test will take place upon checking into the athlete hotel. 

A change from the policy instructed at the three event sin Jacksonville, Florida, athletes and corners will be required to self-isolate at the hotel until they receive the results from their first test. Fighters are not allowed to leave the hotel or have any contact with anyone outside of their designated team. 

“This means you should not leave the Athlete Hotel or have physical contact with anyone other than the members of your camp until you have received your test result,” the memo read.

Fighters who test negative will be approved to continue fight week activities. Those who test positive, are instructed to remain in their hotel room and await further instructions. 

The second test will be administered after the official weigh-ins on Friday. Much like the first test, fighters and corners are required to self-isolate following the test.

Different from the Jacksonville cards, fighters and corners are required to self-isolate overnight until the time of departure to the Apex for the event. 

“During this time, no athletes or cornermen will be permitted to leave the Athlete Hotel without express prior approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” the memo reads.

The document also says the UFC’s Performance Institute will not be available for use at this time. 

The UFC held three events in the span of eight days in Jacksonville, starting with UFC 249 on May 9. Only one bout in three events was removed due to a  positive COVID-19 test. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive the night before the event. 

UFC on ESPN 9 will air on ESPN and stream on ESPN+.

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