The UFC has released lightweight Ottman Azaitar after he violated the promotion's COVID-19 health and safety protocols in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Azaitar was taken out of his UFC 257 bout against Matt Frevola and removed from the Fight Island safety zone, the promotion announced Friday. UFC president Dana White confirmed Azaitar's release shortly thereafter in an interview with BT Sport's Adam Catterall.
White said Azaitar helped an outsider enter the UFC's bubble and avoid quarantine measures.
"He and his team cut off their wristbands, gave them to somebody outside the bubble - I don't know how they even did it," White said. "That guy taped them, showed up here with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went in his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left. When security tried to stop him, he wouldn't stop."
Frevola is now scheduled to face Arman Tsarukyan in Saturday's featured preliminary bout. Tsarukyan's original opponent, Nasrat Haqparast, was removed from the card due to an illness.
Azaitar was 2-0 in the UFC after making his debut in 2019. The 30-year-old German competed once last year, knocking out Khama Worthy in the first round. He owns a 13-0 professional record.