The UFC had a major announcement to share this Friday afternoon. In a surprising turn of events, the company has released Ottman Azaitar from its active roster just a day before UFC 257.
UFC made this decision because Azaitar violated the health and safety protocols. He reportedly had an unauthorized individual set to visit him in his hotel this week.
Azaitar, an undefeated lightweight, was scheduled to face Matt Frevola in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. That fight has been adjusted due to this shocking announcement, as Arman Tsarukyan will now be taking Azaitar’s place. This match will be in the prelims of UFC 257.
The timing of this incident is obviously brutal since Azaitar was supposed to fight on Saturday. However, the UFC is sending a strong message to the rest of its fighters with this move.
Dana White tells me that as a result of Ottman Azaitar violating the safety protocols, he has been cut from the UFC. #UFC257
— Farah Hannoun (@Farah_Hannoun) January 22, 2021
Azaitar’s actions didn’t sit well with president Dana White, who commented on the company’s decision.
“It’s just bad,” White explained. “He’s gone. He’s no longer a UFC fighter, and he’s not fighting [at UFC 257].”
White said the unauthorized person shimmied across multiple balconies to deliver a bag to Ottman Azaitar.
"It's bad, he's gone, he's no longer a UFC fighter."
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) January 22, 2021
The UFC has tried extremely hard to keep its product running throughout the pandemic with strict protocols. It can’t afford to have its fighters violating the rules, especially right before an event.