UFC switches COVID-19 testing methods ahead of this weekend’s event in Las Vegas

Dana White, UFC Jacksonville, Anthony Smith, Glover Teixeira, Sean O'Malley

The UFC has decided to change its testing methods for COVID-19 ahead of this weekend’s Las Vegas event.

The UFC returned to action earlier this month with three fight cards in Jacksonville. Despite introducing various safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the organization will be tightening the reigns for this Saturday night’s Las Vegas card. The event will be held at the UFC Apex facility.

One change to the upcoming event is that fighters will receive oropharyngeal (throat) swabs instead of nasopharyngeal (nasal) swabs according to ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani.

“Per several fighters who have checked in for this weekend’s UFC event in Vegas, they are getting the throat swab tests upon checking in, not nasal like before,” Helwani said on social media. “That’s a modification, if you will, from the Jacksonville events.”

Each person will be tested upon arrival at the event’s host hotel. Upon checking in, the individual will be required to self-isolate until receiving their results. They will have a second swab test following Friday’s weigh-in. They will be required to self isolate again at the hotel and remain inside overnight until their scheduled departure to the Apex centre on Saturday (unless they receive exceptional approval). The UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas will not be open during this time.

It is likely that the changes to COVID-19 protocol are to satisfy the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Hosting sports events in a new state given the current circumstances presents new challenges. It is possible that NSAC wants the UFC to comply with stricter isolation measures in compliance with their recommendations.

The changes could also be due to criticism over their previous fight cards. Joe Rogan was shunned for ignoring social-distancing policy and previously shaking fighters’ hands.

What do you think of the UFC’s decision to push forward with fight cards despite the ongoing pandemic?