It looks like Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza wasn’t practicing social distancing the entire time while preparing for UFC 249 later tonight (Sat., May 9, 2020) live on ESPN+ from inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Souza, who tested positive for coronavirus Friday night along with two of his cornerman and subsequently removed from his UFC 249 middleweight bout with Uriah Hall, has been in Jacksonville since Wednesday. “Jacare” reportedly informed UFC upon his arrival that one of his family members had the virus. The promotion has assured fight fans that it took proper precautions to isolate Souza and keep him from having any direct interaction with other fighters and staff.
While UFC is confident that its COVID-19 safety procedures worked for Souza video footage has surfaced that leads fans to believe that wasn’t the case. Prior to getting his positive test result back on Friday, Souza can be seen chumming it up with fellow UFC 249 participants from inside the Jacksonville hotel. “Jacare” wasn’t quite practicing safe social distancing despite wearing a face mask and gloves, all while knowing he could potentially have coronavirus.
The video, which was first seen on UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum’s Instagram story before being deleted, can be seen below:
What do you think, Maniacs? Too close for comfort?
UFC officials released a statement Friday night about Souza’s positive test and claimed 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.” UFC president Dana White also stated that “the system works” because they successfully tested “Jacare” and quickly isolated him.
While UFC is likely doing everything in its power to assure the safety of fighters and staff this weekend at UFC 249, the above video footage is not a good look. Souza was supposed to be isolating himself and practicing social distancing at all times. That clearly wasn’t the case and it now leaves this entire incident open to a different, and vastly more critical, interpretation.
All of that said, UFC 249 is still going down later tonight live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). The main event of the evening will feature an interim lightweight title fight between top contender Tony Ferguson and short-notice filler Justin Gaethje. The co-headliner will feature UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo defending his title for the first time against all-time great Dominick Cruz.
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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