UFC: International Fighters Must Comply with New U.S. Government Vaccine Mandates

By: Tristen Critchfield
Oct 19, 2021
International fighters hoping to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship will face a new hurdle beginning next month.

While the UFC does not require any of the athletes in the organization to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, the Las Vegas-based promotion will adhere to the policy from the United States government that requires all travlers from abroad to have proof of vaccination beginning on Nov. 8. UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell sent out a memo to fighters, coaches and managers providing notice that the policy will affect international fighters traveling to the U.S. for fight cards beginning on that date.

“Recently the U.S. government announced that beginning on November 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status to fly to the United States,” the memo states. “Fully vaccinated travelers will also be required to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel prior to boarding their flight.

“This policy also applies to foreign nationals crossing the land borders with Canada and Mexico or arriving in the United States by passenger ferry. To be clear, this is NOT a UFC policy. UFC is not requiring you to get vaccinated. We are simply communicating the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government.”

With the majority of the UFC’s events still taking place at its UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Campbell mentioned a potential alternative solution for fighters looking to work around the updated vaccine policy.

“You should consider your options, such as traveling to the United States before this new U.S. government policy takes effect, or if you choose, make arrangements to take the appropriate vaccination,” the memo states.

“Starting on Nov. 8, in order to be admitted into the United States, all foreign nationals arriving from international destinations must be vaccinated by one of the WHO approved vaccines. Those who are not vaccinated will not be permitted to enter the U.S.”

The memo adds that those hoping to travel to the U.S. prior to Nov. 8 must have a waiver if arriving from a restricted country. As it currently stands, the only international event booked by the promotion is UFC 267, which will take place in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 30. The UFC has traveled within the U.S. for other pay-per-view shows but has stayed at the UFC Apex for Fight Night events. It hasn’t had a normal international slate since before the pandemic began. The promotion's first event with the new policy taking effect will be UFC 268, which is set for Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 8.

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