Report: UFC institutes stricter COVID-19 protocol ahead of May 30 card
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The UFC is instituting stricter coronavirus protocols ahead of Saturday's event in Las Vegas.
Fighters slated to compete at the UFC Apex this weekend received a memo outlining the new guidelines, according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani. The card, headlined by former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley versus Gilbert Burns, is still pending approval from the Nevada Athletic Commission, which will hold a meeting Wednesday.
All athletes will be required to take two COVID-19 swab tests: first, upon arrival at the hotel in Las Vegas, and again following Friday's official weigh-ins.
After the first test, everyone must self-isolate at the hotel until they receive their results. The memo states they should have contact only with members of their camp during this time, which differs from the previous protocol, according to MMA Junkie's Nolan King.
The memo says "you may continue with your fight-week activities" if you test negative. However, it adds that "if your result is positive, you should remain in your hotel room and await further instructions from UFC's medical team."
After the second test, everyone will again be required to self-isolate at the hotel until their scheduled departure for the UFC Apex on Saturday afternoon - also different from the previous protocol.
"During this time, no athletes or cornermen will be permitted to leave the Athlete Hotel without express prior approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission," the memo reads. "You also should not have physical contact with anyone other than the members of your camp."
If the test result is negative, the athlete and their corner may go to the venue. If the result is positive, they will await further instructions from the UFC's medical team.
The memo doesn't mention antibodies testing or daily temperature checks, both of which occurred ahead of the three UFC events in Jacksonville earlier in May, according to Helwani.
Fighters who competed at UFC 249 on May 9 took two swab tests, but that wasn't always the plan, Helwani reports. They were tested a second time after the Friday weigh-ins because the results from the initial test weren't scheduled to come back in time for the event.
Fighters who competed at the May 13 and 16 events were tested only once.
Ronaldo Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of UFC 249. "Jacare" was taken off from the card, and the three were removed from the hotel.