clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rener Gracie tests positive for COVID-19, won’t corner Brian Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6

UFC 231: Holloway v Ortega Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Brian Ortega will be without one of his lead cornermen for his grudge match with Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Island 6 next weekend.

That’s because Ortega’s long-time coach, renowned BJJ expert Rener Gracie, has tested positive for COVID-19. Gracie announced the news Friday in the following Instagram video:

Gracie, who is Ortega’s most-tenured coach, revealed that he and his wife had coronavirus “about a month ago,” but tested negative after a two-week quarantine. The BJJ coach also tested negative last week in advance to his flight to Abu Dhabi, but things took a turn for the worse on Wednesday when a positive test ultimately ruined Gracie’s chance of flying to “Fight Island.”

In addition to his positive test, Gracie also had to worry about informing Ortega he won’t be in his corner for one of the biggest fights of his career.

“At first, Brian thought I was joking, because I tested negative already twice in the last two weeks,” Gracie said (via ESPN). “And I wasn’t. Of course, he’s super bummed. But I assured him, I said ‘Brian, luckily this skill set that I bring to the table that I coached you for over 15 years in is the most ingrained in you of all your skill sets in fighting. It’s the one that you least need coaching on.’ So, if anyone has to stay behind, it should be me.”

Ortega, who is a first degree black belt under Gracie, hasn’t competed inside of the Octagon since losing his first UFC title shot against Max Holloway in December 2018. “T-City” has been sidelined for nearly two years due to injury. It is by far the longest layoff of Ortega’s career and one he’ll have to overcome without Gracie’s familiar voice in his corner.

Adding fuel to next weekend’s fire is Ortega’s storied feud with “Korean Zombie.” After Ortega smacked Jung’s friend, rapper Jay Park, during a UFC event earlier this year the two featherweights have mixed it up quite a bit. Tensions have subdued over the past few weeks, but the bad blood is sure to return when the former title challengers meet inside of the cage.

“I’ll be watching like the rest of the world,” Gracie said. “We’ll be there with you, brother — until the end.”

UFC Fight Island 6 will go down on Oct. 17 live on ESPN+ from inside Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., with Ortega vs. ‘Korean Zombie’ serving as the main event.

For more UFC Fight Island 6 fight card news click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania