The UFC has updated its COVID-19 protocol heading into its first event in Las Vegas since the pandemic hit the U.S.
Saturday, the promotion is expected to put on UFC on ESPN 9 at the UFC Apex, pending the approval of the event by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Earlier this month, the UFC hosted three events in an eight-day stretch, starting on May 9 and ending on May 16, in Jacksonville, Fla. – all of which followed the promotion’s first-ever COVID-19 protocol. While many of the elements in the updated policy are the same, there are notable changes in the new protocol, mostly pertaining to self-isolation after testing.
Sunday, MMA Junkie obtained a document laying out the UFC’s newly-minted policies and procedures for athletes fighting on the May 30 card.
Like Jacksonville fight weeks, fighters and corners will received antigen tests (oropharyngeal swabs) upon check-in at the hotel. Athletes will then be required to self-isolate at the host hotel until they get their results.
Different than the old policy however, a more concrete definition is given for social distancing expectations. Fighters are instructed not to leave the hotel or have any contact with anyone outside of their designated team.
“This means you should not leave the Athlete Hotel or have physical contact with anyone other than the members of your camp until you have received your test result.”
Athletes who test negative will be allowed to continue their fight week proceedings. Fighters who test positive will be instructed to remain in their hotel room and await further instructions.
After Friday weigh-ins, athletes and corners will be tested a second time. Following the test, athletes and corners will once again be required to self-isolate.
Unlike Jacksonville, fighters and corners must remain in self-isolation overnight, until it’s time for them to depart for the Apex on fight night. No one may exit self-isolation without the express prior approval of the NAC.
“During this time, no athletes or cornermen will be permitted to leave the Athlete Hotel without express prior approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”
Physical contact with non-camp-members is prohibited. Athletes and corners will receive their second test prior to leaving the hotel for the arena.
Additionally, the promotion notified May 30 athletes that the UFC Performance Institute will remain off-limits during fight week.
UFC on ESPN 9 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.