There are many ways to get cut from the UFC but this is likely the strangest one we’ve ever heard.
There was very little drama at the UFC 257 weigh-ins on Friday morning – with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier the first two on the scales – but there was one major announcement as media members were told that Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola had been scratched from Saturday’s fight card in Abu Dhabi.
Frevola made his way to the scales and successfully made weight, raising questions about the whereabouts of Azaitar.
It was ultimately decided that Frevola would instead fight Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 257 and Dana White has since revealed the bizarre reason why Azaitar had been removed from the fight card.
White explained that an egregious violation of Covid-19 protocols from Azaitar’s team resulted in the decision to cut the undefeated fighter from the UFC.
Speaking to BT Sport after the ceremonial weigh-ins, White said: “He (Azaitar) and his team cut off their wrist bands, gave them to somebody outside the bubble, I don’t know how they even did it.
"It's bad, he's gone, he's no longer a UFC fighter."
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) January 22, 2021
“That guy taped them, showed up here with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went into his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left.
“Now when security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop, either way, and yeah, it’s just that he’s gone. He’s no longer a UFC fighter and he’s not fighting.”
Frevola’s new opponent, Tsarukyan, needed a new opponent after Nasrat Haqparast failed to show up within the two-hour weigh-in window. While Tsarukyan missed weight, the rearranged fight with Frevola will go ahead although Tsarukyan will forfeit 20 per cent of his fight purse.