In October, UFC heavyweight Ilir Latifi admitted, after his win over Aleksei Oleinik at UFC Vegas 61, that he had fought with an undisclosed staph infection. On Wednesday, November 16th, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voted unanimously to suspended Latifi for three months for failing to notify officials of the condition before the bout.
“Even this week, you see my leg is all swollen,” Latifi told UFC commentator Paul Felder after his win over Oleinik. “I didn’t even tell my coaches, but I got a staph infection two days ago. And as you can see here, my leg is all swollen. It’s an amazing sport but the margins are so small. You put in so much work and this thing happens the last day.
“Today, actually when I woke up, my leg was swollen,” continued Latifi. “I was like, ‘I can’t cancel again,’ so I had to fight like this with a fever and a staph infection. But that’s part of being a fighter.”
The NSAC temporarily suspended Latifi in the days after the fight. Wednesday’s athletic commission meeting was the group’s first chance to address Latifi’s decision to compete without disclosing the infectious illness, which can be transmitted through person-to-person contact. Latifi put his opponent, his team and everyone he came into contact with at risk by not disclosing his infection on his pre-fight medical documentation.
Latifi, who was also assessed $407.50 in legal fees, is eligible to return to action—pending a clean medical exam—on January 1, 2023.
During the hearing, the NSAC noted that the issue of Latifi not disclosing his staph infection on his pre-fight documentation was a precedent-setting action. Previously, the commission had not suspended any fighter for failing to disclose an illness or injury. The commission added that “suspensions may be increased and fines may be increased depending on the situation.”