The news of Ottman Azaitar’s release from the UFC was something straight out of Hollywood. Breaking quarantine, helping a shadowy figure slip past security, a mysterious black bag. You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a drama until Dana White in fact confirmed the news that Ottman had been released.
Understandably so, as Ottman and his team put not only the entire UFC 257 fight card in jeopardy, but also UFC employees and fighters’ safety. Azaitar’s release seemed like a done deal back in January. After all, Dana White does not take the safety of his employees lightly, and the UFC along with the Abu Dhabi government had worked hard on the COVID-19 protocols that have kept Fight Island safe through three stints.
Flash forward less than a month later, and it looks like Dana and the UFC have had a change of heart. White revealed to ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto over the weekend that the promotion will be giving Ottman a second chance.
Dana White tells @bokamotoESPN he has decided to give Ottman Azaitar a "second chance" with the UFC.
This development comes less than one month after White told multiple outlets Azaitar would be released from his contract for breaking COVID-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi. pic.twitter.com/MmKn1rUWkQ
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 20, 2021
No opponent or return date for Ottman Azaitar has yet to be determined. The German has yet to comment on rejoining the UFC. Azaitar’s manager took to social media Saturday to thank all involved in the reversal of his ban, noting that the deal that was done was “way above my pay grade.”
Very grateful to @danawhite and humbled by this decision. There are others I want to thank. They know who they are and we appreciate them very much this was done way above my pay grade https://t.co/Nge7GL3WFO
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) February 20, 2021