The UFC just sent out this email out to athletes and their teams for upcoming events: pic.twitter.com/oEc72YUY7B— Alex Scaffidi (@alexscaffidi_) December 15, 2020
With COVID-19 cases rising throughout the United States and the UFC losing increasingly more bouts due to positive tests, the promotion has elected to implement more stringent bubble protocol ahead of Saturday’s year-end event.
The policies, which were initially reported by Alex Scaffidi on Twitter, relate primarily to transportation during the athletes’ and coaches’ stay in Las Vegas during fight week. The email is as follows:
The following applies to all athletes and corners participating in UFC Fight Night on December 19th in Las Vegas. Please read this information carefully. ***
“Use of Transportation During Fight Week
“To ensure the integrity of UFC’s Covid-19 testing and quarantine protocols, no athlete or corner will be permitted to use any vehicle not officially approved or arranged by UFC once the athlete or corner has checked in for Fight Week. This includes personally owned vehicles, rental vehicles, a friend’s vehicle, or ride share vehicles, such as Uber or Lyft.
“This policy applies to ALL athletes and corners, including those based in Las Vegas, as well as those based outside of Las Vegas.
“In addition, any athlete or corner who leaves the hotel property without coordinating with UFC Event Operations, including post fight, will not be allowed back into the hotel.
“If an athlete or corner needs transportation for any reason during Fight Week, including to go to the market, the UFC Performance Institute, or UFC APEX, they must call (redacted) with UFC Event Operations.
“Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”
Recent UFC “Embedded” episodes released prior to UFC 255 and UFC 256 seemed to indicate that fighters had a certain measure of freedom to move about freely in Las Vegas ahead of their bouts. However, it now appears that the promotion will be cracking down and enforcing stricter bubble policies.
The UFC has lost numerous fights in recent weeks due ot COVID-19 withdrawals. UFC 256 alone lost four originally scheduled bouts due to the virus, while UFC on ESPN 19 one week prior saw at least three fights canceled. UFC Fight Night 183 has already lost a welterweight matchup pitting Belal Muhammad against Dhiego Lima due to the coronavirus, as well.