UFC 249 has backing of Mayor, Florida Commission despite Jacare Souza’s positive COVID-19 test

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza on Friday became the first UFC fighter to be removed from a scheduled bout after testing positive for the COVID-19 disease.

Souza and his two cornerman all tested positive, despite being asymptomatic, according to UFC officials. They immediately left the host hotel and will self-isolate off premises. The UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment.

UFC President Dana White, the Florida State Athletic Commission, and the mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., where the fight card is set to be held, all indicated that the process worked as designed and felt confident moving forward with UFC 249 on Saturday minus the Jacare Souza vs. Uriah Hall bout.

White told Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that while the ideal would have been for no one to test positive, he felt like the system they put in place ultimately worked.

“If you do 1,200 tests, it’s not that unexpected to have one come back positive,” he said.

White’s sentiment was backed by that of FSAC Executive Director Patrick Cunningham, who according to UFC executive Hunter Campbell, said, “We’re very impressed with your entire process. You have our full support. We have no reservations about the event going on tomorrow. We think this is the template for combat sports moving forward.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry echoed him, saying, “The first live sporting event since worldwide lockdowns started is happening in Jacksonville. We told you it would be aggressively tested and safe. A fighter has tested positive for coronavirus and will NOT participate in his fight in our city. The testing process we established works. We look forward to bringing the world a live sporting event from Jacksonville, Florida. See y’all tomorrow.”

TRENDING > Jacare Souza and cornermen test positive for COVID-19, bout removed from UFC 249 fight card