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UFC updates COVID-19 protocols before UFC 270, vaccinated fighters and coaches no longer subjected to fight week testing

Coronavirus - test station in Oldenburg Photo by Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images

The UFC has once again updated protocols surrounding COVID-19 testing, including a new provision to make fight week much easier for fully vaccinated fighters and their coaches.

In the updated protocols sent to fighters, coaches and managers ahead of UFC 270 this weekend in Anaheim, Calif., the UFC made the most dramatic changes in regards to testing since events started take place again in 2020.

As part of the updated protocols, fully vaccinated individuals — including fighters, coaches and people working in the corner — will no longer be subjected to any fight week testing for COVID-19 outside of a pre-departure test required for anybody traveling to the event.

“No testing is required if you have proof of vaccination on record with UFC or if you can provide proof upon check in at the host hotel (digital copy, photo, hard copy, etc),” UFC officials said in the letter sent to fighters.

“If UFC does not have your proof of vaccination on record and if you cannot provide proof of vaccination in-person, you will be considered unvaccinated and must test as per the procedures below.”

Unvaccinated individuals arriving to fight week between Jan. 17 and Jan. 19 are required to test twice — once upon arrival at the host hotel and then a second pre-event test on Thursday, Jan. 20. Anybody arriving on Jan. 20 or later only need to test once when arriving at the host hotel.

Every person involved with UFC 270 from the fighters to their coaches are still required to undergo pre-fight testing before actually traveling to California, regardless of vaccination status. The test must be taken within 72 hours from departure and it has to be a certified test from a certified facility such as a CVS pharmacy or certified testing facility.

No at-home tests will be accepted as proof prior to travel.

The UFC will still require everybody to wear masks at all times from the octagon floor to the weigh-ins to backstage areas regardless of vaccination status.

The UFC has instituted strict testing protocols ever since returning to action after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While the testing protocols have evolved over time, this is definitely the biggest change regarding vaccinated individuals attending the upcoming UFC events.

Beyond the UFC’s testing protocols for fighters and coaches, the Honda Center in Anaheim also requires separate information for fans attending events at the arena.

According to the current protocols in place, attendees must provide proof of vaccination — with the final dose at least 14 days prior to the event — or a negative COVID-19 test with an antigen test taken within 24 hours or a PCR test within 48 hours to the event start time.