Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall at UFC 249 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. However, that fight won’t be taking place after Souza tested positive for the coronavirus. In addition to his positive test, two of Souza’s cornermen also tested positive for the coronavirus.
The UFC immediately took action and removed the 40-year-old Souza from Saturday’s event. While that fight is now canceled, the rest of the pay-per-view will go on as scheduled.
“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,” the promotion said in a statement. “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.”
Souza both lives and trains in the state of Florida and actually drove to Jacksonville for the event of Wednesday. He informed UFC officials upon arrival that a family member may have been in contact with someone who had the coronavirus. When that occurred, Souza was tested and monitored.
At the weigh-in, Souza complied with all guidelines and regulations and even had a distanced staredown with Hall, wearing a mask and gloves before getting his positive test results. Talk about living life on the edge.
Only Infected Fighter
According to UFC, the 23 other athletes scheduled to fight at UFC 249 all tested negative for the coronavirus. At the end of the day, UFC came to the decision that the fight would go on, after discussing it over with the Florida State Boxing Commission.
“We administered 1,200 tests this week, on 300 people,” UFC president Dana White said. “It’s not unexpected one person would test positive. The system works. And what’s good about this is now we know Jacare tested positive, he’s doing what he needs to do, and we’re in a position to help him if he needs it.”
Souza’s opponent, Hall, expressed concern for the man he was supposed to fight on Saturday through a message on Twitter.
“@JacareMMA Brother I know it sucks I’m sorry you have to go through this I am beyond devastated for the missed opportunity I wish nothing but recovery for you and your family.
Hall’s head coach Sayif Saud even added, “We wish Jacare and his team a speedy recovery and look forward to competing against them in the future.”
Eerily, Souza had an interview with ESPN earlier this week discussing his concerns for still fighting despite the worldwide pandemic we are all immersed in.
“I am afraid to do everything, even to go to the supermarket,” he said in a translated version of the interview. “But there is something I have to do; there is no escape. I prefer to work and take the risk because these are things we will have to do. But we are very concerned with this business. It is very serious; there are many people dying; it is complicated and sad.”
This is a very unimaginable time in our world’s history, particularly in the sports community. In a lot of ways, these niche sports like UFC and golf are setting the tone for the four major sports to come back and play at a competitive level that is free of anyone being infected with the coronavirus.
As the famous saying goes, “Scared money don’t make money,” – and this is really what it’s all about right now for the UFC. They should certainly reap the benefits of being the only show in town, and that’ll include more viewers and bettors as well.