For the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, vaccinated UFC fighters will not be tested for COVID-19 during fight week.
Fighters and their corner people who are fully vaccinated will not have to undergo COVID testing nor any quarantining at UFC 270 this week in Anaheim, California, UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell confirmed Tuesday with ESPN. MMA Junkie was the first to report the news. Vaccinated fighters and corners will still have to test negative in a pre-arrival test and will be tested for COVID prior to departure, as well.
These protocols are laid out by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and supported by the UFC, Campbell said. Unvaccinated fighters and corners will still have to be tested twice during the week and quarantine.
CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told ESPN that if any vaccinated fighter or corner is symptomatic, they will be tested for COVID-19. Foster said that CSAC doctors on-site during the week will pay special attention to that.
The UFC follows the protocols set forth by the individual athletic commissions that have jurisdiction and could have different COVID rules in place in another state for the UFC’s next card, though this trend seems to be carrying across sports.
Earlier this week, the NBA lifted gameday coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated athletes. The NFL began testing vaccinated players and personnel less frequently last month. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported Tuesday that the NHL plans on stopping COVID tests on asymptomatic athletes and staff members after the All-Star break.