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UFC adopts stricter protocols related to COVID-19 ahead of Las Vegas event

  • UFC tightens protocol ahead of next event, which might take place in Nevada
  • UFC takes this decision after glitches in past event and hence has added more test for athletes
Paarth Pande
Modified 26 May 2020, 13:51 IST
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje

UFC has been the only major sports organization that has been running its live events during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It has resulted in the organization receiving criticism and praise from various commentators across the spectrum. However, one point which every side seems to have agreed on is that UFC wasn't testing enough.

For instance, the UFC did manage to detect that the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Ronaldo Souza, but it was not before he contacted several other players. The UFC did defend themselves in their statement,

"From their arrival earlier in the week until their departure today, Souza and his cornermen followed UFC health and safety protocols, including practicing social distancing, wearing personnel protective equipment, and self-isolating whenever possible. There have been no other positive COVID-19 tests reported from the remaining athletes participating in UFC 249. The response to this development is indicative of the effectiveness of the health and safety measures UFC has put in place for this event."

But that wasn't enough to pacify strong feelings carried by a section of the MMA world.

UFC tightens protocol.

Now they have adopted even stricter measures. Per MMA fighting the new protocol will be as follows:

First Test :

  • This will take place when the athletes and their cornermen arrive at the hotel. They will have to take the COVID-19 antigen oropharyngeal swab test.
  • After the test, fighters and cornermen will have to self-isolate and won't be able to leave the hotel until the result come back.
  • Once test results come back negative fighters can resume their normal activities.
  • If the test comes out to be positive, fighters will have to stay in their room until the UFC medical team instructs otherwise

Second Test:

  • The second COVID-19 swab test will be conducted after the weigh-ins.
  • The test will follow the same protocol, with fighters being asked to self-isolate until the results come back negative.
  • Neither fighter nor team will be allowed to leave the hotel without prior permission from the athletic commission
  • Fighters will also be asked to not have physical contact with anyone outside their team.
  • If the result comes negative fighters can move ahead with the event.
  • If the result is positive it will result in fighters going back to isolation and await instructions from the UFC medical team.

It was also informed that the UFC performance institute will also remain closed during this time.

All of these protocols are being adopted before the next UFC card which may take place in Nevada. The concern still does not address what about tests after the fights are over but for now these measures do answer some important questions.

Published 26 May 2020, 13:51 IST
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