The undefeated middleweight returns to competition for the first time since September 2020, a hiatus that was in no small part to Azaitar being removed from the UFC’s January 2021 pay-per-view in Abu Dhabi for violation of COVID-19 protocol. Initially, Azaitar was released for allegedly helping an unknown person drop off a bag in the “bubble” that had been set up as a precaution by the promotion, who later reversed the decision.
To this day, the contents of the bag are unknown, and Azaitar remained mum at a media day for UFC 281 on Wednesday.
“I’m not confirming anything by what I say now, but let’s say I have now a bag with me,” Azaitar said. “Let’s say I come into this room with a bag. Why would you ask me what’s in the bag? What’s in your bag?”
Azaitar is scheduled to fight Matt Frevola on Saturday, the same opponent he was to face at UFC 257. “Bulldozer” is 2-0 since debuting with the UFC in 2019, with both of those wins coming by way of knockout. He owns a 13-0 pro record overall.
For Azaitar, the supposed controversy is non-existent as he claims he would have had no issue bringing anything in his bag to the bubble and the fighter hotel, so why would there be any need for a clandestine operation?
“When I checked into this hotel or whenever I check in any fighter hotel, no one ever checked my bags, so why this big secret around this bag?” Azaitar asked reporters. “You understand? So it’s not a Mission: Impossible movie.
“The thing is, the people what they think after all this media thing—I’m not talking about the UFC fighters because they’re living this. They take the flight, they arrive, they get to the octagon, they come in, everything is fine, but we give the people outside a little wrong impression about how we get treated when we check in in the hotel. They have the idea that we are like in the airport, we have to open all our bags and they get checked, that’s not what happened. The fighters are always welcome good, warmly, we can go in without the people checking our bags. They put this trust in us, so why this answer? Because if I wanted to sneak anything in, I could have done it without any Mission: Impossible or sending Spider-Man to give bag, Ant-Man make small, Superman from up and however.”