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UFC president Dana White released Ottman Azaitar from the promotion the day before his scheduled fight at UFC 257 for attempting to sneak others into the COVID-19 safety bubble on Fight Island.
The bout between Azaitar (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Matt Frevola (8-1-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) was scratched from the card early Friday after the official weigh-ins, but no reason was given. White later told Farah Hannoun at MMA Junkie that it was because of the fighter breaking safety protocol. He was also released for the act.
The UFC rebooked Frevola for a bout against Arman Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan missed weight for his bout with Hasrat Haqparast on the UFC 257 card, but Haqparast withdrew due to illness.
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor anchor the main card.
Azaitar tried to skirt COVID-19 safety regulations
A UFC press release said the bout was cut for a health and safety violation. White was asked how that could happen given they were out on an island and he asked someone to the side of a UFC on BT Sport camera if they were going to tell the story.
“It’s pretty amazing, actually, the story,” White said.
After Azaitar and his team crossed into the safe zone on Fight Island, they cut their wristbands off and handed them to others so they could get into the bubble, White said.
“One guy, this guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room, shimmied down four balconies and went in through his balcony and dropped off a bag of, we don’t know what. And then changed his clothes and went back outside of the bubble.
We got everything on camera. We saw the whole thing and how everything went down. And [we] pulled his fight and cut him.”
White told reporters for UFC on BT Sport that security tried to stop him, but the man didn’t heed the call.
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