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Midnight Mania! UFC clears the air on COVID-19 testing policy, will reimburse athletes for costs

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UFC 253: Adesanya v Costa Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Don’t look now, but the damnable “irresponsible” media is at it again.

Last night, rumors swirled online that UFC was no longer going to foot the bill for the COVID-19 testing of its athletes and their corner on arrival/departure to events. It was first reported by Ariel Helwani, and there was clearly some concern among insiders as well, as several coaches and athletes were unhappy on Twitter.

Looking to clear the air, UFC’s Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell released a statement, explaining that athletes will be reimbursed for COVID-19 expenses after the fact. In addition, UFC will continue to provide their usual fight week testing and cover the cost upfront.

The pivotal bits of Campbell’s memo reads, “Please be advised that we are updating UFC’s COVID-19 testing program to give all athletes and corners the freedom and flexibility to secure their own COVID-19 test prior to departing for their scheduled UFC event.

This change is being made because low-cost COVID-19 testing has become readily accessible in the U.S. and abroad. To clarify, UFC will reimburse you for the initial cost of securing your own pre-departure test. As a result, UFC will no longer provide at-home testing kits. Recent reports in the media that athletes will be forced to bear the costs of ‘covid testing’ are incorrect and irresponsible.

This change takes effect immediately.”

As the original “irresponsible” party for reporting the change, Helwani did defend his actions on Twitter. “Absolutely nothing ‘irresponsible’ or ‘inaccurate’ about my report yesterday,” Helwani responded. “I think proves that. I have physical proof of the then-change in policy. Alas, glad fighters don’t have to pay out of pocket anymore.”


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