UFC implements ‘Fight Island’ COVID-19 testing protocol; special travel procedures in place

The UFC has implemented a series of COVID-19 safety protocols for fighters and corners partaking in the promotion’s upcoming shows on “Fight Island.”

The UFC has recently touted its events at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island as the long-awaited return of international MMA. With the pandemic preventing so many travel issues for non-American fighters, the four cards will a high number of fighters from the UFC’s international roster.

In a document obtained by MMA Junkie on Thursday, the UFC notified fighters and corners of the upcoming travel procedures and the COVID-19 protocols they should expect.

While some of the details on pre-flight testing (MMA Fighting) and travel protocol (ESPN) had already been revealed, the document gave a step-by-step breakdown of what fighters should expect.

Below is an outline of the UFC’s new procedures, split into three main categories by MMA Junkie.

UFC ‘Fight Island’ travel system

  • Fighters and corners will have the option to take a charter flight out of one of four “hub” cities (Las Vegas, London, Sao Paulo, or Moscow).
  • Exceptions will be made for fighters and corners unable to travel to one of those four locations due to immigration restrictions. Those fighters and corners will board “specially-commissioned” flights directly to Abu Dhabi.
  • Fighters and corners not located in a “hub” city will take a commercial flight to one of the four options.
  • Fighters and corners flying out of Las Vegas will have to arrive 36 hours prior to their departure to Abu Dhabi.
  • Fighters and corners flying out of London, Sao Paulo, or Moscow will have to arrive 48 hours prior to their departure to Abu Dhabi.
  • Fighters and corners should expect potentially arriving in Abu Dhabi days ahead of schedule – or departing Abu Dhabi days behind schedule.
  • Fighters and corners competing on the first three events should anticipate potential post-fight flight delays due to flight schedules.

Pre-Abu Dhabi testing

  • Fighters and corners will be required to provide negative COVID-19 tests, which will take place 24-48 hours prior to departure to Abu Dhabi.
  • Fighters and corners scheduled for specially-commissioned flights to Abu Dhabi will have a COVID-19 test arranged for them by the UFC.

Testing in Abu Dhabi

  • Upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, fighters and corners will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport.
  • Fighters and corners will arrive at the VIP terminal and be brought to a secure area in the airport for their tests.
  • Fighters and corners will then be transported to the hotel.
  • Fighters and corners will quarantine in their rooms until airport test results are given (wait time: less than 12 hours).
  • Upon getting results, fighters and corners will be tested a second time for COVID-19 – this time, in their hotel rooms.
  • After the second test, fighters and corners will once again quarantine in their rooms until hotel room test results are given (wait time: less than 12 hours).
  • Fighters and corners will undergo further COVID-19 testing 24-48 hours prior to the event – and one additional time before departing Abu Dhabi (more details to follow).

The UFC also provided fighters and corners with the following graphic (obtained by MMA Junkie), seemingly meant to conceptually-simplify the process:

MMA Junkie Image

The UFC’s four “Fight Island” events are scheduled to take place on July 11, July 15, July 18, and July 25 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

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