UFC 249 has faced close scrutiny as the biggest sporting event to be held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now UFC’s decision to proceed with the event raises further questions as one of the scheduled fighters, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, has been pulled from the card after testing positive for the virus, along with two members of his team
“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,” UFC said in a statement to media outlets, including ESPN, which is slated to carry preliminaries, including Souza’s fight. “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.”
While awaiting his test result, Souza did the weigh-in wearing a mask and gloves. UFC still plans to move on with the rest of the pay-per-view event in Jacksonville, Florida.
UFC 249 was originally supposed to take place on April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The event was then rescheduled for May 9 at a new location, Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil. That venue became unavailable as it was converted into a field hospital treating COVID-19 patients in Brazil, prompting the fights’ relocation to Florida.