The UFC’s plans for an event going off without a hitch took a turn just a day before UFC 249. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has tested positive for the coronavirus. His fight with Uriah Hall is officially off.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Souza (26-8, 1NC) underwent tests as he arrived at the hotel where the event was near. The results came back today after the weigh-ins. He informed UFC officials originally that a family member had tested positive for COVID-19. While he was asymptomatic, he was isolated as the UFC planned for all fighters.
During weigh-ins (both made weight), Souza was seen wearing gloves and a mask and was also several feet away from Hall, as well as UFC President Dana White.* Souza is on a two-fight losing streak and is 3-4 in his last seven. He last fought in November, losing to Jan Blachowicz via split decision.
It is unknown the status of the corner of Souza, who were the only entities allowed to be with him before weigh-ins.** Souza is the third fighter to test positive for the coronavirus, as Lyman Good backed out of the original UFC 249 a few weeks ago when he found out he had the virus. Alexander Hernandez has previously stated he felt symptoms not that long ago.
Despite a fighter testing positive, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that UFC 249 will be going on as planned. The UFC was also told by the Florida Athletic Commission that the event is still OK to continue.
UFC 249 takes place on May 9 from inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The UFC was deemed an “essential business” by the Governor and is planning on holding more events in the area.
* It appeared that Souza had interactions with a number of fighters like Fabricio Werdum, which meant there was limited distancing involved
** Two people in Souza’s corner tested positive for the virus after spending time with him