UFC releases Ottman Azaitar for brazen violation of COVID-19 safety protocols

January 22, 2021

Ottman Azaitar has been released from his UFC contract for violating COVID-19 safety protocols in the lead-up to Saturday’s UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.

Azaitar had been scheduled to face Matt Frevola on the UFC 257 main card on pay-per-view. He did not appear at Friday’s UFC 257 weigh-in, though it was announced he would not be fighting on Saturday.

UFC officials at the weigh-in offered no explanation for Azaitar’s removal from the bout. UFC president Dana White, however, did so in an interview with UFC Arabia. He indicated that Azaitar and his team brazenly violated COVID-19 safety protocols, leading to Azaitar being released from his contract.

“He and his team cut their wristbands off and got them to people on the outside (of the UFC safety bubble), one guy,” White said.

“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 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.”

Arman Tsarukyan vs. Matt Frevola takes UFC 257 featured prelim slot

Though Azaitar was removed from the bout and released, Frevola still has a fight at UFC 257.

Nasrat Haqparast, because of illness, is unable to compete in his scheduled bout with Arman Tsarukyan. As such, Frevola will step into that bout to face Tsarukyan, which is the featured UFC 257 preliminary bout.

Tsarukyan missed the lightweight cut-off by one pound and was fined 20-percent of his fight purse, which will go to Frevola.

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