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Midnight Mania! Ronaldo Souza’s positive coronavirus test calls UFC’s safety procedures into question

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MMA: UFC 224- Ronaldo vs Gastelum Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Earlier today at UFC weigh-ins, Ronaldo Souza vs. Uriah Hall was curiously the only match up that featured social distancing, as the rest squared off like at any other event. When news broke just an hour ago that “Jacare” tested positive for Coronavirus, it seemed like a really lucky coincidence.

Not so much.

As it turns out, Souza recently had a family member ill with the virus, and UFC has known about it since at least Wednesday.

UFC and Dana White promised the strictest precautions, guaranteeing safety of the athletes and promising that there would be no viral spread. It was reassuring when numerous videos emerged of fighters getting repeatedly tested, a sign that those promises were being fulfilled. This situation, however, is distinctly less promising and more upsetting.

Why was the fight not canceled/delayed when Souza admitted he was potentially exposed? Was Souza allowed into the fighter hotel after this information came to light? How many officials and UFC staffers has Souza interacted with in the last three days? Was Souza’s health at risk as he cut weight while his body battled the virus? Regardless of how UFC handled the situation, doing anything other than sending “Jacare” home increased the risk of the whole show.

It’s not a great look in general for the company, particularly when Souza admitted weeks ago that he was scared to fight during the pandemic, only accepting a fight to pay his bills.

Listen: I’m not a chronically negative media person who has constantly condemned the event. I’m still as excited as any fight fan to watch UFC 249 tomorrow, it’s probably going to be awesome. However, we were publicly promised “an over abundance of safety measures,” and bringing Souza into the fold after he revealed this information is a far cry from caution.

Hopefully, Souza is the event’s only positive test, but that’s no guarantee.


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