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UFC informs fighters of safety protocols in Florida; no specifics on COVID-19 testing

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UFC fighters won’t know much about testing information until they arrive at the venue.

UFC will be hosting a trio of events starting on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The promotion has since emailed the fighters involved in the card about the safety protocols that will be in place to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

The list is somewhat similar to the measures they planned to use in the canceled event in Tachi Palace, and like before, this was also a bit vague and didn’t mention specifics about COVID-19 testing.

Both MMA Junkie and MMA Fighting have obtained the UFC’s memo, and below is a summary:

  • Only UFC staff, participating fighters and licensed cornermen are allowed in the hotel and venue.
  • Upon arrival, everyone will be subject to “mandatory medical screening process and tests,” and will be repeated daily. No specific were mentioned, but “further testing details will be provided in person upon arrival.”
  • Individual workout rooms will be assigned for each fighter, that can’t be accessed by other teams. The rooms will have mats, sanitizers, and a portable sauna.
  • UFC Performance Institute staff will be available to help for nutrition and weigh in needs, but not for “massages and flushes.”
  • Medical staff will be available to treat injuries and illness.

Related: Epidemiologist disagrees with UFC’s shows, but suggests ways to ‘screw up less’

One of the main differences here and the canceled April 18 event is that the UFC will now be regulated by the Florida State Boxing Commission, instead of them just self-regulating. That could mean less liability falling on UFC’s shoulders, but the promotion is seemingly going to go above and beyond what the Florida government is requiring of them as well.

It was previously reported that for the canceled Tachi Palace event, the UFC planned to ship COVID-19 tests to the fighters’ homes in advance. It is unclear if that has been, or will be, done for this May 9 show, and the email only notes that more information will be available once the athletes arrive in Florida.

Although experts say that conducting COVID-19 tests still “carries some risk” due to false negatives and doctors still not fully understanding the virus, it would certainly mitigate danger far better than the alternative.

Temperature checks are said to be “totally insufficient,” and medical questionnaires have historically been unreliable, given fighters that routinely hide injuries and illnesses in order to compete and receive a paycheck. At the end of the day, with UFC refusing to disclose their safety measures to the media or the fighters, one can only hope that having COVID-19 testing done for everyone involved is still the plan.