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Ottman Azaitar isn’t going anywhere after all.
Azaitar’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN the incident was a “misunderstanding” and thanked White and the UFC for their final decision. According to Abdelaziz, Azaitar never was officially removed from the roster or U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool.
On Jan. 22, news surfaced that Azaitar (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) had breached COVID-19 protocol in Abu Dhabi ahead of his scheduled UFC 257 bout vs. Matt Frevola. As a result, his fight was canceled. It was at that time that White said Azaitar was cut from the UFC.
“(Azaitar) and his team cut their wristbands off and got them to people on the outside, one guy,” White told MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun as he detailed the alleged incident. “This guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room, shimmied down four balconies, went in through (Azaitar’s) balcony, and dropped off a bag of we don’t know what. Then he changed his clothes and went back outside of the bubble. We got everything on camera, we saw the whole thing, and how it all went down, pulled his fight, and cut him.”
Azaitar, 31, is undefeated as a professional. His resume includes two UFC victories – both by first-round knockout. In his promotional debut, Azaitar blasted Teemu Packalen with a massive, fight-ending overhand right. In his sophomore promotional outing in September, Azaitar finished Khama Worthy with punches in 93 seconds.