An already interesting combat sports concept will not be providing competitors with strict COVID-19 testing that is mandatory for several commissions. As a result, John Carden’s Carden Combat Sports will be moving to another location.
ESPN was the first to report that a card featuring fighters from MMA, boxing, kickboxing, and bare-knuckle fighting, originally set for June 6 inside Forbes Field in Topeka, Kansas, will now be taking place in Abilene. The new location will be Never Surrender MMA gym. Just like the previous location, there will be no fans in the gym.
“Basically our goal is to ensure that no one who has symptoms of COVID-19 gets close to the other participants,” Kansas Commission head physician Dr. Matthew Bohm told EPSN. “So from a standpoint of the way we run medical clinics now is that when people come to the front door, they aren’t allowed in the building until they answer questions.”
Unlike the Nevada or Florida Athletic Commission, which have both handled events for the UFC recently and will for Top Rank, there will be no testing for the coronavirus. The only thing that will be done will be temperature checks at the weigh-in facility. Fighters will also only be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing protocols A questionnaire will also be handed out to fighters and their corners.
“Now, two things happen,” Bohm went on to say. “They have their temperature taken prior to entering the building. If they do not have a temperature, then they answer the questions, like, ‘Have you been tested for COVID? Do you have a fever, cough, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills?’ So we ask them that, and if they’ve had COVID before or if they have tested positive and when they’ve tested positive. We go through the standardized testing.”
Carden, who stated there will be a ring and a cage next to one another for this PPV event, acknowledged that only three fighters will be flying into Kansas. The reason for the move was a result of not all Forbes Field leasees signing off on the event.
The UFC went above and beyond to ensure fighters were utilizing safe measures during multiple fight nights. Although criticized, they were able to efficiently carry out testing. Only Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and his corner tested positive for the virus. Almost similar to the UFC’s plans, the event this weekend will have competitors limited to four members of their training team. Participants will then be brought to the venue one at a time. That is to keep the number of people inside the gym as low as possible.
“It’s going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare for the fighters and uncomfortable for their corners, but it’s just what has to be done at this point,” Kansas Athletic Commissioner Adam Roorbach stated.
“We are following the state and county guidelines. So we’ll follow the guidelines that have been dictated, and then we’re adding the temperature testing and the screening guidelines.”
Known bouts are Shawn Simpson v. Dakota Lester in a six-round boxing fight as well as Desmond Jarmon v. Mike Fowler. Jerry Casarez, manager of Simpson and Jarmon, didn’t seem too worried about the relaxed rules heading into fight night.
“I’m comfortable with it, knowing that as long as there are precautions taken with who’s coming on the card, they limit the amount of people who will be in attendance — even those working the corners. I’m fine with it,” Casarez stated. “With this being one of the first cards out, we’re just trying to limit the amount of time the fighters are exposed to being around anybody else.”
With the event still happening, stay tuned for any further updates regarding athletes and testing.