Former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza has seen a Friday test sample for the novel coronavirus come back positive. The Brazilian was scheduled to make his return to 185-pounds for a meeting with Uriah ‘Primetime’ Hall – that meeting is now off the card.
The UFC 249 event in Jacksonville, Florida and subsequent events on May 13th. and May 16th. are still expected to go ahead. The PPV will commence with an eleven fight card instead, with two of Souza’s cornermen also returning positive test samples for COVID-19. Souza, who arrived in Jacksonville on Wednesday, explained to on-site personnel that a family member of his was showing symptoms of COVID-19, and he was subsequently tested.
The UFC confirmed how the other twenty-three competitors on the card had all had test results return negative – before releasing an official statement detailing how two of Souza’s cornermen and the 40-year-old are currently asymptomatic.
“UFC’s medial team examined (Ronaldo) Souza and his two cornermen and found them to be currently asymptomatic, or not exhibiting the common symptoms of COVID-19. 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 staff will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment.“
Souza successfully made weight for his scheduled pairing with Hall yesterday, and arrived to the pre-fight staredown, wearing latex gloves, and a face mask, as both men socially distanced themselves from each other. Electing against shaking hands, Souza bumped fists with promotional president, Dana White instead.
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White detailed how a positive test situation wasn’t an unexpected scenario to find themselves in.
“We administered one-thousand two hundred tests this week, on three hundred people,” White revealed. “It’s not unexpected one person would test positive. The system works. And what’s good about this now, is now we know Jacaré (Souza) tested positive, he’s doing what he needs to do and we’re in a position to help him if he needs it.“