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While the Ultimate Fighting Championship last week
new protocol in place — including a battery of medical tests —
ahead of UFC
249, whether or not those screenings included coronavirus
testing was initially unclear.
According to an email obtained by
MMAjunkie.com and sent to UFC 249 fighters by the UFC
Performance Institute, all of Saturday’s competitors will be tested
for COVID-19 by the promotion’s medical staff.
“Upon completion of the UFC Medical Team administered COVID-19
test,” the letter reads, “the UFCPI Performance Dietitian will
conduct a fight week screen that includes but isn’t limited to:
weight, nutritional status, food allergies or intolerances and
weight cut tactics.”
What the email does not specify is how many times the athletes will
tested for coronavirus, and the specific type of testing is also
not revealed. According to a report from
ESPN confirmed through anonymous sources, the UFC will
administer a diagnostic swab coronavirus test and an antibody test
to the fighters and their corners. It is unclear how long it will
take to receive the results of the tests.
In previous weeks, UFC president Dana White had been adamant that
the promotion would emphasize safety and testing at upcoming
events, but he did not reveal if coronavirus testing would be part
of that protocol.
UFC 249 takes place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in
Jacksonville, Florida and is headlined by an interim lightweight
championship clash between Tony
Ferguson and Justin
Gaethje. The main card airs on pay-per-view via ESPN+ following
prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.