André ‘Dedé’ Pederneiras, the head coach of former UFC featherweight champion, José Aldo, has reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus this month and is currently self-isolating in his home – away from family members.
Pederneiras, 53, founded renowned mixed martial arts gym, Nova União, and is a former professional mixed martial artist himself, holding a 1-1-2 record. In 1999, Pederneiras unsuccessfully attempted to pry the UFC welterweight crown, from then champion, Pat ‘The Croatian Sensation’ Miletich – in his sole Octagon walk. The 53-year-old is a very skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner; a black belt under Carlson Gracie, and a six-time national champion in his native Brazil.
Speaking with Ana Hissa from Combate – Pederneiras explained how he began experiencing symptoms fifteen days ago, and how he has been donating food parcels as Brazil remains one of the countries worst affected by the ongoing pandemic.
“Fifteen days ago I felt chills for two nights in a row, but nothing much,” Pederneiras said. “My youngest son woke up with a swollen eye, and the other (son) had diarrhoea. I started to think that my family, even though I was at home, could have contracted the disease because I was on the street solving things at the gym, doing the shopping and distributing the food. I decided to take the test; the IGM was positive, and the IGG was negative, that is (sic), I have the virus but I do not have immunity yet. The same day I quarantined (sic) my room, separating myself from my family at home.“
“I have had the André Pederneiras Institute for four years,” Pederneiras explained. “I never asked for any kind of help or donation to help people, I always did it out of my own pocket, I never advertised it, but for the first time, my academy is closed, and I started a campaign to ask for donations for the academy’s students in my social networks. We are getting enough donations. In our first purchase, we managed to assemble a thousand [food] baskets and we continue to ask for help from people so that we can continue to feed those who cannot survive without our help.“
In an official statement released to Combate – Pederneiras spoke on his intentions to rejoin his “army of athletes and collaborators” in distributing food baskets to those in need.
“I took the COVID-19 test and it was positive,“Pederneiras explained. “I am well, fulfilling my isolation at home, and my biggest concern at this moment is to continue our fundraising campaign, because the hunger of the less fortunate cannot fail to be quenched, due to the momentary medical loss in the middle of this war that we are fighting to feed the less fortunate.“
“Regardless of whether I am unable to go to the street, our army of athletes and collaborators will continue to distribute basic food baskets at scheduled times, and as soon as I am cleared, I will be back in front of everything, buying and distributing food too, together, we will win this war.“
“Every week I go to the bank and get the statement to account for the campaign. Unfortunately this week I will have to post the cell phone statement (which I don’t like to do because it doesn’t show the name of the André Pederneiras Institute and the value together), but as soon as I’m released to go out I’ll post the statement the way I was doing it.“
“The motto of my life has always been, FIGHTING TO WIN, and it will be no different now! My thanks to everyone who is donating and helping these people in need in some way.“
Pederneiras’s facility formally played host to bantamweight contender, Ketlen Vieira, former strawweight title challenger, Cláudia Gadelha, and former 135-pound kingpin, Renan ‘The Baron’ Barão. Former world champions – the aforementioned, Aldo, Junior dos Santos, B.J. Penn, Marcos Galvão and Eduardo Dantas have also plyed their trade at the Nova União facility, which is based in Rio de Janeiro.
The above noted, Aldo – was scheduled to meet with Henry Cejudo at a postponed instalment of a UFC 250 event, with bantamweight spoils up for grabs. However, the Brazilian Muay Thai practitioner was unable to travel to the United States where the card was expected to take place, due to the expiration of his work VISA. The closer of the embassy prevented Aldo obtaining a valid VISA – with former two-time champion, Dominick Cruz replacing Aldo instead, going on to lose a second-round knockout to Cejudo.