The UFC may not be requiring fighters to get their COVID-19 vaccines, but the United States is, at least for some.
Dana White has been vocal about his support for the rights of his fighters to not need a COVID-19 vaccination to compete. Some have suggested that this could be because he does not want to blur the lines between independent contractors and employees, but even if that is not the case, he has made it clear how he feels on the matter.
However, a report that was obtained by MMAJunkie has revealed that while the UFC is not requiring vaccines, regulations for the United States will force international athletes to be vaccinated to compete. Beginning November 8th, nobody will be allowed to enter the country without proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, meaning that any fighter coming from overseas after that point will have to take measures accordingly.
“Foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status to fly to the United States,” the memo reads. “Fully vaccinated travelers will also be required to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel prior to boarding their flight. This policy also applies to foreign nationals crossing the land borders with Canada and Mexico or arriving in the United States by passenger ferry.”
That being said, the UFC wanted to make it clear that this was not a rule they created themselves. Instead, they are just informing the fighters about what the United States government has decided but did suggest that a workaround for some, would be to travel into the country before that deadline approaches.
“To be clear, this is NOT a UFC policy,” the memo reads. “UFC is not requiring you to get vaccinated. We are simply communicating the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government.”
“You should consider your options, such as traveling to the United States before this new U.S. government policy takes effect, or if you choose, make arrangements to take the appropriate vaccination.”
This is obviously a complicated issue that has many sides, with no one solution being satisfying to every party. The one thing that is clear, though, is that this has the potential for massive repercussions for international UFC fighters moving forward.