The UFC plans on increasing its coronavirus testing for the fighters competing on Fight Island as they will be required to take five COVID-19 tests overall.
The increased number of COVID-19 tests, in fact, applies to anyone that is headed to Fight Island, including the fighters, cornermen, and UFC staff. ESPN’s Marc Raimondi had the scoop, and he also shared a flow chart highlighting the changes to the UFC’s coronavirus testing protocol for the four events scheduled to take place on Fight Island in July.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) June 24, 2020
According to the report, there will be central hubs where all the fighters, their teams, and UFC staff will get their first COVID-19 test 48 hours before leaving for Abu Dhabi. For Americans, they will meet at the hub in Las Vegas and take their first test there. For Brazilians, they will head to Sao Paulo. For the rest of the international fighters on the card, they will meet at a hub location in either London or Russia before heading to Fight Island.
When the fighters arrive in Abu Dhabi, they will once again take a second test. The fighters will then head to the hotel where they will remain in quarantine until their test results come in. They will then take a third COVID-19 test and head back to quarantine until the results of the third test come back. Once cleared, they will head to Yas Island where they will take a fourth COVID-19 test. Following the events, the fighters will take a fifth and final COVID-19 test on Yas Island. If negative, they will then be allowed to head back home.
The UFC has obviously been taking a risk by holding events during the coronavirus pandemic, in comparison to other sports leagues which are on hiatus at the moment, but overall there, fortunately, haven’t been many positive tests. At UFC 249 in Florida, middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19 and he was removed from his fight against Uriah Hall.
After a scare with the corner of Ian Heinisch in Las Vegas, he was deemed good to go after his corner had a false positive test. Matt Frevola was the lone fighter in Las Vegas to be scratched from an event after his cornermen, UFC fighter Billy Quarantillo tested positive. Other than those instances, the UFC has been fortunate to not have many more issues. With the amount of testing the UFC is doing, the show has been able to go on as scheduled, and with so many tests on Fight Island, the UFC is protecting itself even more.
What do you think about the changes the UFC is making to its coronavirus testing protocols on Fight Island?