Report: ‘Jacare’ Souza positive for coronavirus, scratched from UFC 249

Report: ‘Jacare’ Souza positive for coronavirus, scratched from UFC 249

The extensive testing undertaken by the UFC to protect the health and safety of fighters competing on Saturday’s UFC 249 card has resulted in a positive coronavirus case.

UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza on Friday came up positive for the COVID-19 virus, scratching him from the pay-per-view event less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin. UFC broadcast partner ESPN.com first reported the news. Souza’s reps and UFC officials did not immediately return multiple requests for comment.

Souza was scheduled to face Uriah Hall on the event’s preliminary card. Hall’s reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Per the report, Souza disclosed a family member had tested positive for the virus upon arriving to the event’s host hotel on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla. He was asymptomatic, but the promotion awaited the results of a mandatory test required of fighters upon arrival. That test returned a positive result, UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN.com.

The Florida State Boxing Commission reportedly has been notified of the positive test and has allowed the event to continue as planned, per Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Just spoke with a FL state commission official who said he is still very comfortable with UFC 249 proceeding despite the positive test. Said Jacare disclosed a recent contact with an infected relative and was isolated upon his arrival until results came back. “The system worked.”

— Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) May 9, 2020

The UFC enacted strict safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at a time when the sporting world is closed down. The promotion submitted a 25-page plan to city officials and outlined detailed procedures for social distancing before and during the events. Many fighters, including Souza, wore masks as they conducted media interviews and weighed in, and Souza and Hall were distanced as they faced off after official weigh-ins.

Souza is the second known UFC fighter confirmed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus in the midst of the global pandemic after welterweight Lyman Good revealed a positive test had scratched him from the first scheduled date of UFC 249. In an interview prior to his travel to UFC 249, Souza acknowledged his fear of the virus, but expressed confidence in his promoter’s safety protocols.

“I’m scared, that’s normal,” he said. “Everyone’s scared. We try to keep everyone protected, but I keep thinking about one thing: if I can’t pay my house’s mortgage, if I can’t pay my bills, I’m going to lose my house. If I go out to the streets, that’s when it gets complicated, that’s when they really won’t be protected. I have to take care of my family one way or the other, and I believe … I know the UFC will keep me protected.”

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