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‘He’s gone’; Dana White says UFC 257 fighter fired for breaching safety protocols

The UFC took serious action after a fighter allegedly broke their COVID-19 rules.

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Ottman Azaitar, UFC 257, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID Safety Protocols, COVID Safety Rules, Azaitar Released, Dana White, Azaitar Fired, Health Safety, MMA News,
Ottman Azaitar Released From UFC
June M. Williams

Ottman Azaitar has seen his time with the UFC come to an abrupt end. The UFC lightweight was set to compete at UFC 257 this weekend against Matt Frevola, but a series of missteps now leaves him with no opponent and promotion.

Azaitar was initially scrapped from the event after failing to weigh-in. Shortly after it was announced that he would no longer be competing on Saturday night, the UFC put out a statement regarding his removal for what was said to be a “recent violation of the health and safety protocols” in the safety zone.

UFC President Dana White then spoke with Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie and provided details as to why Azaitar was not only removed from the fight but cut from the promotion entirely. Per the reporting of Hannoun, Azaitar and his team made the decision to try and bring someone else into the bubble. This, of course, is a major breach in the protocols the UFC has established to ensure the healthy and safety of those who are only allowed in the bubble due to their involvements in the fights.

White would go on to elaborate more on the situation during a brief chat with BT Sport.

“So, he and his team cut off their wristbands, gave them to somebody outside of the bubble. I don’t know how they even did it. That guy taped them, showed up here with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went in his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes and then left. Now, when security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop either way.

“It’s just bad. He’s gone. He’s no longer a UFC fighter and he’s not fighting tonight.”

Azaitar joined the UFC in 2019 and has competed twice since then. He earned first-round stoppages over Teemu Packalen and Khama Worthy at UFC 242 and UFC Vegas 10: Waterson vs. Hill respectively, which were both rewarded with ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses.