Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was bound to encounter some issues along the way as the promotion pushed for its return to action later tonight (Sat., May 9, 2020) at UFC 249 live on ESPN+ from inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
The first major issue at UFC 249 popped up Friday night when it was revealed that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and two members of his corner tested positive for coronavirus. UFC followed its COVID-19 safety protocol earlier in the week, isolating “Jacare” when he first arrived in Jacksonville on Wednesday after he disclosed that one of his family members had the virus.
However, he was allowed to stay inside the host hotel, as well as attend the weigh ins, while the result of his test was still pending.
The promotion later released a statement stating that “the response to this development is indicative of the effectiveness of the health and safety measures UFC has put in place for this event.”
Late Friday night, UFC president Dana White spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto about the situation and remained confident that UFC 249 is a safe environment for fighters and staff.
“We administered 1,200 tests this week, on 300 people,” said White. “It’s not unexpected one person would test positive. The system works. And what’s good about this, is now we know Jacare tested positive, he’s doing what he needs to do and we’re in a position to help him if he needs it.”
White also informed ESPN that all three of UFC’s upcoming Jacksonville cards remain on schedule.
UFC 249 will go down later this evening and culminate with an interim lightweight title fight for the ages as Tony Ferguson puts his 12-fight win streak on the line against top-flight finisher Justin Gaethje.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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