Ronaldo Souza, who was to fight Uriah Hall in a middleweight fight, is the fighter to test positive for COVID-19. Although this fight has been withdrawn, UFC 249 will proceed as planned.
MMA Junkie confirmed the news with a UFC official following an initial report from ESPN.com on Friday evening. Hunter Campbell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of the UFC, told ESPN that the promotion had received clearance from the Florida State Athletic Commission to proceed with the event.
The UFC subsequently issued a statement announcing that two of the Souza cornermen had also tested positive for the coronavirus. No other fighter has tested positive.
“The UFC medical team examined Souza and his two cornermen and found them to be currently asymptomatic, or lacking the common symptoms of COVID-19,” the statement said. “In accordance with UFC health and safety protocols, the three men have left the host hotel and will isolate themselves, where the UFC medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and provide a assistance with any necessary treatment. “
Souza informed UFC officials that a family member had tested positive for the coronavirus when he arrived in Jacksonville on Wednesday. He was asymptomatic and tested and, according to the UFC, isolated before a positive test returned on Friday. Video deleted by heavyweight Fabricio Werdum, which also appears on the map, shows Souza near several fighters at the host hotel.
Souza (26-8 MMA, 9-5 CFU) and Hall (15-9 MMA, 8-7 CFU) both gained weight on Friday morning. The two men wore masks for face off. Souza wore gloves in addition to a mask. They ended up several feet away from each other than any other fighter on the map. UFC President Dana White struck the two men.
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and is broadcast on ESPN + pay-per-view after the preliminaries on ESPN and ESPN + / UFC Fight Pass.