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Cost cutting? UFC now requires fighters and coaches to pay for COVID-19 tests

UFC has changed their COVID-19 protocols, passing on some costs to their athletes.

UFC has changed their protocols to save some money. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The UFC has implemented yet another sweeping change in a move seemingly done to cut more fighter costs.

The UFC has been requiring COVID-19 testing for fighters and cornermen prior to traveling to the events they’ve been booked in, and now they won’t be spending for it anymore. The policy remains the same, but the athletes will now be shouldering the costs instead of the promotion.

This is according to a report from Ariel Helwani, who says that the change will be from their next event onwards:

“As of this weekend’s UFC card, fighters and corners will be responsible for paying for their own COVID testing expenses, I’m told. Up until this point, fighters and corners did a 10-day pre-departure test, domestically and internationally. That was paid for by the UFC. International fighters/corners went to labs, domestic fighters/corners were sent kits. As of this weekend, they are responsible to take and pay for the tests themselves.”

The news comes soon after Endeavor and the UFC boasted about breaking all financial records set by the promotion. Ari Emanuel recently touted 2021’s revenue and EBITDA, saying they’re having the most lucrative first three quarters in company history.

Numbers reveal that the UFC is also likely on track to generate $1 billion for the year, a first for the promotion.

Low revenue-share and fighter pay have long been a controversial issue for the UFC. Even if it’s not the biggest sum of money, this move that passes on costs from the promotion to the athletes will only widen that gap even more.