UFC 249 has its first fighter being removed from the card because of coronavirus.
Ronaldo “J’acare” Souza, who was supposed to face Uriah Hall, will not take part in the event after testing positive for COVID-19, the UFC said in a statement. The promotion also said two of Souza’s cornermen tested positive. The card, however, will go on without him on Saturday at a fan-less VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
“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,” the promotion said in the statement. “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.”
Souza was tested after informing UFC officials on Wednesday that a member of his family had contracted the virus. The middleweight, who lives in Tampa, was asymptomatic when he arrived for the event, but was monitored until his test results came back Friday.
According to ESPN, Florida state athletic officials are allowing the card to continue as scheduled because the system worked to identify and isolate Souza.
“There have been no other positive COVID-19 tests reported from the remaining athletes participating in UFC 249,” the UFC said. “The response to this development is indicative of the effectiveness of the health and safety measures UFC has put in place for this event.”