Ottman Azaitar had been set to fight Matt Frevola on the main card of UFC 257 tonight, but now he has been fired from the promotion after a jaw-dropping story emerged of he and his team conspiring to smuggle in an unauthorized person into the carefully contained Fight Island ‘bubble.’
“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing actually,” Dana White said as he recounted the story of what happened.
“So, he and his team cut off their wristbands, gave them to somebody outside the bubble — I don’t know how they even did it — that guy taped them and showed up here with a bag.
“He went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went in his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes and left.
“When security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop either way and it’s just bad. He’s gone, he’s no longer a UFC fighter. And he’s not fighting tonight.”
White also told the story again to a different reporter, revealing that they don’t know what was in the bag that the unauthorized person put in the room.
“One guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room and shimmied down four balconies, got in through his balcony and dropped off a bag of we don’t know what.
“He changed his clothes and went back outside the bubble. We got everything on camera, we saw the whole thing and how it all went down and pulled his fight.”
Needless to say this is all highly suspicious, not to mention the fact it’s also reckless given that the whole point of the Fight Island bubble is that only authorized people who have tested negative for caronavirus are allowed in.
So far it’s a system that’s worked extremely well for the promotion, but it only takes one person who hasn’t been properly cleared to enter the bubble and start a chain of infections that could put the whole Fight Island series at risk.
It’s very unfortunate that it’s come to this as Azaitar was an exciting undefeated record with a 13-0 record who had finished 12 of his opponents inside the distance, with the vast majority of them coming via his heavy-handed striking.
One positive note however is that his opponent Matt Frevola will now fight Arman Tsarukyan instead, whose opponent had to drop out due to illness on weigh-ins day.