Extensive tests undertaken by the UFC to protect the health and safety of combatants competing on Saturday’s UFC 249 card have resulted in a case of positive coronavirus.
UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Friday, scraping it off the board less than 24 hours before the scheduled start. UFC broadcast partner ESPN.com first reported the news. Souza officials and UFC officials did not immediately return several requests for comment.
Souza was to face Uriah Hall on the preliminary map of the event. Hall officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the report, Souza revealed that a family member had tested positive for the virus when he arrived at the hotel hosting the event on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida. He was asymptomatic, but the promotion was awaiting the results of a compulsory test required of combatants upon arrival. The test was positive, EVP and UFC CEO Hunter Campbell told ESPN.com.
The Florida State Boxing Commission was informed of the positive test and allowed the event to continue as planned, according to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal.
I just spoke with an official of the FL State Commission who said that he was still very comfortable with the UFC 249 procedure despite the positive test. Said Jacare revealed recent contact with an infected relative and was isolated on arrival until the results returned. “The system worked. “
– Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) May 9, 2020
The UFC has adopted strict security measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at a time when the sports world is closed. The promotion submitted a 25-page plan to the city authorities and describes the detailed procedures for social distancing before and during the events. Many fighters, including Souza, wore masks while conducting media interviews and weighing, and Souza and Hall were left behind as they clashed after the official weigh-ins.
Souza is the second known UFC fighter to confirm that he contracted the COVID-19 virus in the midst of the global pandemic after welterweight Lyman Good revealed that a positive test had scratched him since the first scheduled date of UFC 249. In an interview before his trip to UFC 249, Souza acknowledged his fear of the virus, but expressed his confidence in the security protocols of his promoter.
“I’m afraid, it’s normal,” he said. “Everyone is afraid. We are trying to protect everyone, but I keep thinking of one thing: if I cannot pay the mortgage on my house, if I cannot pay my bills, I will lose my house. If I go out on the street, it’s when it gets complicated, it’s when they really won’t be protected. I have to take care of my family in one way or another, and I think … I know the UFC will protect me. “