As the UFC embarks on a return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, the promotion will put tickets on sale — but with restrictions in place for those hoping to attend the upcoming card.
UFC 267 on Oct. 30 will feature two title fights at the top of the show, as Jan Blachowicz defends his light heavyweight championship against Glover Teixeira, and Aljamain Sterling clashes with Petr Yan for the second time with bantamweight gold going up for grabs.
The event will be held at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, but fans in attendance will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend. In addition to the vaccination requirement, all fans attending the show will also be required to provide a negative PCR test taken within the last 48 hours in order to enter the arena.
There will also be social distancing guidelines in place, with the event filling up to 30 percent capacity according to documentation sent to fighters and their camps ahead of travel booked to Abu Dhabi.
This will be the first UFC event since the global pandemic started where fans attending the event will be required to provide proof of vaccination in order to attend.
The restrictions in Abu Dhabi are actually more strict than the rules being put into place in numerous cities across the United States where vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours are required for attendance.
While these rules are in place for UFC 267, the promotion will likely start running into similar situations with future events, including the upcoming UFC 268 card on Nov. 6, which is expected to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York.
New York City currently has restrictions in place where fans attending are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within six hours of the event or a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours.
Based on current rules in New York City, fighters are not required to show proof of vaccination to compete.
Obviously because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, largely due to the Delta variant of the disease, cities and states across the U.S. have been forced to issue similar orders in an attempt to slow the spread of infections while not putting more restrictive rules in place to stifle businesses.
As for Abu Dhabi travel restrictions, the local government there just recently updated guidelines for those coming into the country, including those from countries on the “green list,” to loosen quarantine rules that had previously been in place.
Unfortunately, the United States is not on the green list, which means anyone arriving in Abu Dhabi from the U.S. must provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 along with a PCR test taken after landing. Those travelers will also be required to take two more additional PCR tests while in Abu Dhabi.
Unvaccinated travelers from the United States will not only have to take the PCR tests but also quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
The UFC has not put any rules into place that requires athletes to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, so it remains to be seen how these travel restrictions could potentially affect some of the fighters competing at UFC 267 in October.