Officials with Ultimate Fighting Championship have announced that Ronaldo Souza, the 40-year-old mixed martial artist popularly known as Jacare, had been pulled from the roster after he and two of his cornermen tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Souza was originally scheduled to fight Uriah Hall live on pay-per-view without an audience during UFC 249 on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida. UFC 249, scheduled to start at 10 p.m. EDT, is the first live UFC event since March.
Upon Souza’s arrival in Jacksonville on Wednesday, he informed UFC of his concern about potential coronavirus exposure from a family member. On Friday, while awaiting test results, he continued to promote the event while wearing a mask and gloves and even participated in a socially distant stare-down contest with Hall.
In an official statement, UFC explained: “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. 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.”
The UFC has tested the 23 other athletes scheduled for UFC 249. So far, all test results have been negative. According to Dana White, UFC President: “We administered 1,200 tests this week on 300 people… The system works. And what’s good about this is now we know Jacare tested positive, he’s doing what he needs to do, and we’re in a position to help him if he needs it.”