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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 March 2021

UFC 257: 'It’s just bad ... he’s gone' - Ottman Azaitar kicked off Fight Island for violating safety protocols

Moroccan was scheduled to fight Matt Frevola in Abu Dhabi but has now been cut by UFC president Dana White

The UFC cut lightweight Ottman Azaitar from its roster on Friday after he broke Covid-19 protocol in Abu Dhabi.

The unbeaten Moroccan had been slated to face Matt Frevola in Sunday’s UFC 257 at Etihad Arena, but was pulled from the card for a "violation of the health and safety protocols" at the W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island.

UFC president Dana White told BT Sport that an unauthorised individual had entered the hotel with a wristband given by Azaitar to deliver a bag to the fighter’s room.

“It’s pretty amazing, actually,” White said. “He and his team cut off their wristbands, gave them to somebody outside the bubble, I don’t know how they even did it.

“That guy taped them, showed up here with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went in his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left.

“When security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop either way, and it’s just bad ... he’s gone. He’s no longer a UFC fighter and he’s not fighting [at UFC 257].”

UFC 257 is the final of three events on the promotion’s latest Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi. All athletes, teams, staff and media are tested for Covid-19 throughout their stay and were subject to a period of quarantine at their hotel upon arrival.

Azaitar, 30, is undefeated in 13 professional bouts, winning his two previous UFC fights by first-round knockout. His promotional debut took place in Abu Dhabi, at UFC 242 in September 2019.

Frevola now faces Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 257 after the latter's original opponent dropped from the card because of medical reasons.

Updated: January 23, 2021 05:13 PM


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