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MMA coaches suspended after breaking COVID-19 protocol at Bellator 253

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UFC 192: Bader v Evans Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Two veteran MMA coaches have been suspended after breaking COVID-19 protocol during fight week for Bellator 253.

Sanford MMA coaches Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, who were attending Bellator 253 earlier this week to corner Jason Jackson in his fight against Benson Henderson, are the two men being suspended for three months by Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department of Athletic Regulation head, Mike Mazzulli.

Per protocol, fighters and coaches must receive a COVID-19 test and enter 24 hours of quarantine upon arrival at the hotel. While Hooft and Jones took their respective coronavirus tests they did not put themselves in quarantine. Instead, they left their rooms to help Jackson train before his bout with Henderson. Video surfaced earlier this week showing the training session taking place in one of the rooms.

Jackson, who is being fined $1,000 ($500 per coach), had previously taken his COVID-19 test and finished his 24-hour quarantine. Mazzulli made it clear that Jackson’s fine is meant for the coaches to pay.

“It’s erroneous (and) disrespectful to Bellator and the industry in general,” Mazzulli told MMA Junkie. “I don’t care who you are when it comes to a trainer. I wouldn’t expect Randy Couture (to break protocol). I wouldn’t expect (anybody) to do this. It’s a public health issue. They were wrong and that’s what they get.”

It should be noted that Jackson and both of his coaches passed their COVID-19 tests without issue. Jackson, who was competing for the second time during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ended up defeating Henderson via unanimous decision in the co-main event.

Hooft and Jones are also coaches for UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and top contender Gilbert Burns, who are expected to fight each other on Feb. 13. It will be interesting to see if Mazzulli’s suspension is upheld by another commission and prohibits the Sanford MMA coaches from cornering Usman and Burns.

“I hope all ABC members in the country – well, we have ABC members all of over the world – but in the country will adhere to these suspensions of these two trainers,” Mazzulli said. “We have to set precedent here to show how important it is and make sure you follow the quarantine protocols.”

What do you think, Maniacs? Did Hooft and Jones deserve to be suspended?

Sound off!

For complete Bellator 253 results and coverage click HERE.