At UFC 257, Ottman Azaitar was scheduled to face Matt Frevola in a bout that was supposed to move the highly-touted prospect up the ladder towards ranked opposition. However, the bout never ended up taking place because before the official weigh-ins for the event, Azaitar was removed from the card for violating COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a situation that went on to become one of the great mysteries in MMA.
According to UFC President Dana White, Azaitar and his team were caught removing the wrist-bands that indicated they were properly vetted and allowed in “The Bubble” in Abu Dhabi and gave them to somebody outside of it. That person then entered the bubble with a bag of unknown contents, “shimmied across four balconies, went in his room dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left.” As a result, Azaitar was released from the UFC and the legend of Azaitar’s bag and what was contained therein was born. Well, know the legend has an answer.
Whether that answer is true or not remains anyone’s guess and speculation will surely continue about what was in the bag; however, it may die down some as the controversy surrounding Azaitar’s visitor has abated since then. Last month, the UFC decided to reconsider releasing Azaitar for knowingly breaching Fight Island’s COVID-19 protocols, giving the fighter a second chance with the organization, something Abdelaziz says he and his client are grateful for.
“He didn’t lose the job,” Abdelaziz said. “At the end of the day, it was almost like an investigation. Dana looked over it. He’s a great kid, everybody loves him, all the UFC staff loves him. Some people got involved, Dana was involved. Listen, when you have Dana White himself handling certain situations, it’s a serious situation. At the end of the day, if they find out whatever they think he did or didn’t do, he’s good enough as a person to get a second shot. He got a second shot at it, and he’s looking to get a fight right now.
“He’s a UFC fighter. He was never cut officially from the UFC. Let’s remember when you have media start asking about stuff, Dana wears his heart on his sleeve. Nobody can violate the bubble. I don’t think everything that happened was intentional. At the end of the day, it’s over. I’m not saying who’s wrong or who’s right. Dana thankfully brought him back, and everything is good.”
Everything does appear to be good for Azaitar, at least for the moment. Azaitar is in attendance for UFC 259 and yesterday seemed to be in excellent spirits about his return from the brink.
Ottman Azaitar just poked his head into the media room to yell "I'm back" then left. He came back with a white bag, ran into the room again, waved it, laughing and then ran back out to the waiting car. You cannot make this shit up. #UFC259— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) March 3, 2021
Azaitar is currently 13-0 in MMA and the former Brave FC Lightweight champion.
The A-Side Live Chat.
Media Day Live Stream.
Pros Pick Jan vs. Izzy.
Best of Israel Adesanya.
Fight Week Vlog from Aljo.
Heavy Hands. Breaking down the three title fights at UFC 259.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The first time I fought/beat Jan I was the same size I was when I fought you. You told me I was too small, I bulked up 20lbs, and went on a terror. Til I matched up against Jan the 2nd time bigger, stronger, n slower. I think Jan will have problems with smaller guy cuz of speed.— Corey 'Overtime' Anderson (@CoreyA_MMA) March 3, 2021
Yh I feel the same. I was bigger and slower for my second fight with him— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) March 3, 2021
Gandalf hanging out with ninjas apparently.
Masvidal gonna make the leap?
Tony getting his wing chun on.
“Just Wingin’ It” Active Rest w/ Mokoju To Get Re-Calibrated # Extra Credit # AirIsUp Breathe, One. # Wing Wednesday ⚔️ -CSO- @MonsterEnergy #teammonster Champ Shit Only™️ # pic.twitter.com/BG7G7e3SS9— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) March 4, 2021
It’s good to have friends in high places.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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