Like other major sports organizations in the age of the omicron variant, the UFC has changed its health and safety protocols pertaining to COVID-19.
Entering UFC 270, athletes and corners competing on the card have been notified that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to test or quarantine outside of a pre-departure PCR or antigen test, according to a memo acquired by MMA Junkie. Proof of vaccination will be required, and individuals will be reimbursed for any costs incurred for the pre-departure tests.
Unvaccinated individuals will still need to test and quarantine on fight week. They will test twice onsite – once upon arrival (Monday through Wednesday) at the host hotel and once Thursday of fight week. Athletes had previously been tested once upon arrival and once Friday (weigh-in day). Unvaccinated individuals who arrive Thursday or later will only need to test once. Quarantining will be required until the first test comes back negative.
Masks will still be required for all individuals regardless of vaccination status.
Protocols have been approved by the California State Athletic Commission and are very similar to those that have been used by Bellator in recent months.
Previously, all individuals needed to test and quarantine regardless of vaccination status. This was as recently as Jan. 6.
While UFC 270 marks the first full week of the new protocols, multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Junkie the changes were implemented midway through UFC on ESPN 32 fight week.
The promotion has been hit hard in recent weeks with a slew of COVID-19-induced cancellations, which effected both UFC on ESPN 32 and UFC 270.
UFC 270 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN and ESPN+. The event is headlined by two title fights: a heavyweight title unification fight between champion Francis Ngannou and interim champ Ciryl Gane, and a flyweight title fight between champion Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo.