One day before its return to live events, UFC already has to deal with a fight being canceled due to COVID-19.
According to ESPN, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza tested positive for COVID-19, meaning his fight against Uriah Hall for tomorrow's UFC 249 event. Souza's fight against Uriah Hall has now been called off, but the event will move forward as scheduled.
The report stated that Souza arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, site of UFC 249, on May 6 and informed UFC officials that a family member had tested positive. Souza was reportedly asymptomatic, but was isolated and tested. It was on May 8 when the test for coronavirus came back positive. The UFC then conferred with Florida athletic officials, who said the fights can go on as scheduled because the system worked in Souza's case.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports that all other 23 fighters tested negative for COVID-19 and Jacare has left the hotel. Helwani also reported that two members of Jacare's team tested positive for COVID-19.
Two of Jacare’s cornerman also tested positive for COVID-19, per sources.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 9, 2020
Souza was looking to end a two-fight skid and pick up his first win since he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in November 2018. Hall is on a two-fight win streak and has won three of his last four fights. Both Souza and Hall weighed in at 186 at the weigh-ins.
UFC issued the following statement:
The middleweight bout between Uriah Hall vs Jacaré Souza will no longer be on the UFC 249 preliminary card due to one of Souza’s COVID-19 tests indicating a positive result. In addition, COVID-19 tests for Souza’s two cornermen were also flagged as positive. UFC’s medical team examined Souza and his two cornermen and found them to be currently asymptomatic, or not exhibiting the common symptoms of COVID-19. As per UFC’s health and safety protocols, 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.There have been no other positive COVID-19 tests reported from the remaining athletes participating in UFC 249. The response to this development is indicative of the effectiveness of the health and safety measures UFC has put in place for this event. Saturday’s UFC 249 card, which airs live on pay-per-view and is headlined by a battle for the interim lightweight title between No. 1-ranked lightweight contender Tony Ferguson and No. 4-ranked Justin Gaethje will proceed as scheduled with 11 bouts.
UFC 249 is scheduled to take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Fightful will have live coverage of the event. Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp did a preview video which can be seen at this link.