The news broke this morning (AEST) when UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Shortly after, the test results of two of his cornerman also came back positive. Nevertheless, the rest of UFC 249 fight card and two following events are set to go on as planned.
The promotion has scheduled to host three shows at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. This includes the pay-per-view fight card on May 10 (AEST) and two Fight Night events on May 14 and 17 (AEST).
Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported (via Twitter) that UFC President Dana White told him that it was “not unexpected someone would test positive”, which confirmed that the system was working.
“Briefly spoke to Dana White, he said UFC administered 1,200 tests on 300 people this week, it’s not unexpected someone would test positive, shows the system is doing what it’s supposed to do,” Okamoto tweeted. “Jacare will get medical attention. May 9, May 13, May 16 all still on.”
The promotion said in a statement that “all three men have left the host hotel and will be self-isolating off premises, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment.”
“From their arrival earlier in the week until their departure today, Souza and his cornermen followed UFC health and safety protocols, including practicing social distancing, wearing personnel protective equipment, and self-isolating whenever possible.”
Souza’s opponent in a cancelled bout, Uriah Hall posted a message of support on Twitter.
“Brother I know it sucks I’m sorry you have to go through this I am beyond devastated for the missed opportunity I wish you nothing but recovery for you and your family,” Hall wrote.
No other participants of UFC 249 tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).