“Not a mission impossible movie”

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Undefeated lightweight Ottman Azaitar returns at UFC 281, where he is expected to face Matt Frevola. For Azaitar (13-0), it’s his first fight in over two years – but he still can’t escape questions about what happened during a 2021 quarantine breach in Abu Dhabi.

For those who remember, a member of Azaitar’s entourage broke the quarantine in Abu Dhabi, breaking the “bubble” put in place to keep fighters safe during COVID-19. A bag was allegedly handed over to Azaitar, in an incident that Dana White said was caught on camera.

The UFC president cut the fighter pretty much on the spot, only to reinstate him later. As for the mysterious bag in question, its contents remained a mystery. Azaitar’s later manager pretended it was full of potatoesbut few chose to believe this line.

No one loves potatoes so much.

Still, Azaitar told this week’s UFC 281 media day that he wasn’t tired of the questions surrounding the incident. “Not really, I’m not tired. No problem. They can ask.

This does not mean that he will answer, be careful. At least not directly. Instead, when asked what was in the bag, Azaitar chose to skip that question. Instead, he described a hypothesis. “I confirm nothing by what I say now. But let’s say I have a bag now with me. Let’s say I walk into this room with a bag. Why would you ask me ‘what’s in the bag?’ What’s in your bag?”

Pointing out that the bag incident featured someone breaking quarantine protocols and putting the health and safety of athletes at risk, Azaitar asked if the reporter in question – Oscar Willis of The Mac Life – had been in the bubble. Turns out he had, though his bags were sprayed with disinfectant, not searched.

“My bags were also not checked before,” Azaitar continued. “Me too, when I checked into this hotel or every time I checked into a hunting hotel, no one ever checked my luggage. So why this big secrecy around this bag? You understand?”

Azaitar played down the Cloak and Dagger style incident.

“It’s not a Mission Impossible movie, no.” While UFC fighters, who have lived and breathed safety protocols throughout the pandemic, can relate, Azaitar believes that after all the media attention, people outside the MMA bubble have had “a little wrong impression about how we are treated when we check in at the hotel. They have the idea that we are like at the airport, we have to open all our bags and they get checked, but this That’s not what happens. The fighters are always very well received, warmly, we can enter without anyone checking our bags. They give us this confidence.

That’s why, Azaitar said, he chose to answer the bag question the way he did. “If I wanted to sneak in something, I could have done it without mission impossible, or sending Spider-Man to give Batman something, and Ant-Man doing small, tall, and SuperMan from top to bottom,” he laughed. “I belong to those guys. Ottoman, Batman, Ant-Man. All these guys. All my friends.”

This made the press gallery laugh. Although we still don’t know what was in the bag. Either way, Ottman Azaitar is finally throwing himself with Frevola, his potential opponent in that 2021 incident, at UFC 281 this Saturday at Madison Square Garden.


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