The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, has kicked out Moroccan fighter Ottman Azaitar for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 safety protocol.
UFC President Dana White announced the news on Friday, January 22, in an interview with BT Sport.
“He’s gone. He’s no longer a UFC fighter,” White said.
According to White, 30-year-old Azaitar violated the quarantine measures put in place by the UFC.
To maintain their live events, the UFC has implemented a “bubble” system where fighters and their teams have to stay in a facility called “Fight Island” until the end of fighting events.
While in “Fight Island,” fighters are not allowed to physically interact with the external world. Ottman Azaitar, however, allegedly helped someone sneak into “Fight Island.”
In his interview with BT Sport, White narrated what happened: “He and his team cut off their wrist bands, gave them to somebody outside the bubble, I don’t know how they even did it.”
“That guy taped them, showed up here with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went in [Azaitar’s] room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left,” he added.
According to the UFC president, the stranger that Azaitar allegedly helped sneak in caused much trouble for security guards: “Now when security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop.”
Read also: Ottman Azaitar Wants to Bring UFC to Morocco
Ottman Azaitar is yet to make a public comment on the incident and narrate his version of what happened.
A few hours after he was fired, the Moroccan fighter shared a verse from the Quran on his Instagram story: “Perhaps you hate something and it is good for you, and perhaps you love something and it is bad for you. Allah knows, while you know not.”
He also wrote “Alhamdulillah (Thank God) for everything” as a caption, in an apparent confirmation that his journey with the UFC is over.
Azaitar’s dismissal from the largest MMA organization in the world came only one day before his planned UFC 257 fight in Abu Dhabi against American fighter Matt Frevola. With Azaitar out, the fight is cancelled.
The Moroccan fighter left the UFC after only two fights. But, based on the performances he has shown — he won both fights by first-round knockout, Ottman Azaitar would have had a bright future with the UFC.
The “Moroccan Bulldozer” made his UFC debut at UFC 242 in September 2019, when he knocked out Finnish fighter Teemu Packalen.
One year later, in September 2020, the Moroccan lightweight fighter won against American athlete Khama Worthy, knocking him out after only 93 seconds.
Since the start of his professional MMA career, Azaitar has never lost. He currently has a clean fighting record with 13 wins and zero losses.
Considering the excitement that Azaitar has expressed when he first joined the UFC, his dismissal could significantly affect his professional plans. However, with his clean record and impressive performances, it is certain that dozens of other MMA organizations would rush to sign a contract with him.