Now that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has tested positive for coronavirus and removed from his bout with Uriah Hall later tonight (Sat., May 9, 2020) at UFC 249 live on ESPN+ from inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., the need for fighter safety is more important than ever.
While UFC has already implemented COVID-19 safety protocol throughout the week in effort to limit the exposure and spread of the coronavirus, more measures will be taken later tonight when the UFC 249 broadcast actually begins.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, UFC will be changing the way athletes warm up before fights and the times that they are allowed to enter the arena. The new details can be seen below:
“Each fighter will have a designated waiting area at the hotel today. The plan is to have 2 fighters in the cage and two fighters warming up at the arena. Once the fight is over, a new group will leave the hotel to go to the arena.
“The arena is a mile away from the hotel. Once the fight is over, the 2 fighters who were warming up will then head out to the cage and then the 2 new fighters will warm up. And that system will flow for the entire card to ensure the least amount of people are at the arena.
“This is much different than usual. Usually, the fighters are at the arena at least 2-3 hours before they compete and they can wait in a VIP area in the back until the card is over. Not the case this time.”
These extra precautions are certainly necessary given the dangers that can arise from hosting an event during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this doesn’t mean UFC 249 will go down without another hitch later tonight. UFC is taking a big chance by becoming the first major sports organization to return from quarantine so fight fans are still taking a wait-and-see approach to the entire situation.
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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