Ketlen Vieira’s coach, Andre Pederneiras, became the first UFC-related person to test positive for COVID-19 on UFC Fight Island. Though he won’t be in her corner, Vieira will still be allowed to fight.
Vieira is slated to face Sijara Eubanks on the UFC 253 main card on Saturday. The headlining bout features Israel Adesanya putting his middleweight belt on the line opposite Paulo Costa.
While many fighters have been scratched from previous UFC fight cards because a teammate or coach tested positive, that won’t be the case for Vieira. Although Pederneiras has tested positive, according to a report by MMA Fighting, Vieira will be allowed to fight.
Unlike the first go around at UFC Fight Island, where Brazilian fighters and their support teams were tested before flying directly from Sao Paulo to Abu Dhabi, this time the Brazilians were first flown to London on commercial flights before boarding planes to Abu Dhabi. Because of this, Vieira did not have contact with Pederneiras en route to Fight Island and will be allowed to fight.
Pederneiras believed he had contracted COVID-19 back in May when he had tested positive ahead of cornering Jose Aldo and other fighters on Fight Island in July. He was asymptomatic at that time, but quarantined away from his family for two weeks before resuming work.
According to Vieira, Pederneiras is experiencing mild symptoms this time, but appears to be doing okay.
With Pederneiras sidelined, Vieira will face Eubanks with just Marcos Galvao in her corner.
“It’s going to be the two of us against the world,” Vieira said (via MMA Fighting). “We went through a lot to get here, several issues. I’ll only have one corner on the fight, so I just want to leave with my hand raised.
“[Pederneiras’ situation] only motivates me to go there and make him prouder.”
Ketlen Vieira UFC 253 Media Day
(Video courtesy of MMAFightingSBN)