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COVID-19 safety protocols for fans attending UFC Fight Island cards announced

Fans need to be aware of safety protocols for upcoming events including UFC 257

UFC Fight Island Previews Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

On Thursday, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism raised eyebrows when it announced the three upcoming UFC events — UFC on ABC 1, UFC 257 and UFC on ESPN 20 — would have a limited number of fans in attendance. The events take place on January, 16, 20 and 23 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

The announcement was somewhat shocking since UFC president Dana White said after UFC 255, “I’ll stay here at the Apex instead of going somewhere where we can’t have a full crowd. What I’m not going to do is I’m not going to take a 10,000-seat arena and sell 5,000 tickets. I’d rather stay (in Las Vegas).”

Etihad Arena has a capacity of 18,000. According to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter (via the UFC), “The capacity for the UFC event per fight will be around 2000 spectators, as the safety and well-being of guests and staff is the top priority.”

The initial announcement that fans would be in attendance did not include safety measures for the events. However, when tickets went on sale for the three fight cards, the safety protocol for those purchasing tickets was on the Etihad Arena website:

1. Upon arriving to the venue entrance, all spectators will undergo a check of their valid 48-hour PCR test, thermal scanning and ticket checks. Spectators will have to present the AlHosn App OR a medical center report for the valid 48-Hour PCR test

2. Any spectator showing signs of high fever or does not have a valid 48-hour PCR COVID-19 test will be denied entry with no refunds to their ticket

3. Wearing a face mask is always mandatory within the venue, even when seated

4. Adhere to social distancing guidelines in and around the venue

5. Contactless payments are required

6. Food and non-alcoholic beverages can be ordered from your seat and through hawkers or via physical concessions at the venue

7. Alcohol will be available through hawkers and physical concessions at the venue

8. Sanitisation of the venue will take place prior to the event

9. Sanitisers are placed around the venue

According to the Mayo Clinic the PCR test:

…detects genetic material of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A fluid sample is collected by inserting a long nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) into your nostril and taking fluid from the back of your nose or by using a shorter nasal swab (mid-turbinate swab) to get a sample. In some cases, a long swab is inserted into the back of your throat (oropharyngeal swab), or you may spit into a tube to produce a saliva sample. Results may be available in minutes if analyzed onsite or a few days — or longer in locations with test processing delays — if sent to an outside lab. PCR tests are very accurate when properly performed by a health care professional, but the rapid test can miss some cases.

Other details on safety for the arena:

No bags or strollers are allowed into the venue

The arena is paperless — tickets must be downloaded to a mobile device

Social distancing requirements are to stay two meters apart from those outside your group at all times

Stickers mark safe distances in areas where fans are required to stand in line

Contactless payments are preferred inside the venue

There is no readmission to the arena

Original identification is required (passport, UAE & CCC ID card only)

Fans should allow up to one hour for COVID-19 and security checks

Tickets for January 16 and January 20 events range from $162 to $353 (both approximate due to conversion to USD)

Single event tickets for UFC 257 tickets are sold out, but seats are available for that event when packaged with one or both of the January 16 and 20 events.