Jacksonville mayor: Fighter tests positive for COVID-19, wont participate in UFC 249

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said on Friday night that a fighter who was scheduled to fight in UFC 249 has tested positive for COVID-19, and won’t be participating.

According to a report by ESPN, Ronaldo “Jacare" Souza tested positive. He was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall during Saturday night’s event.

Souza drove to Jacksonville on Wednesday, ESPN said, and informed UFC officials that a family member might have tested positive. The report said Souza was asymptomatic, but he was tested, and the test came back positive Friday -- after he had appeared at the weigh-in for the fight.

ESPN said Souza was wearing a mask and gloves during the weigh-in and staredown with Hall.

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Dana White, president of the UFC, told ESPN that since they administered 1,200 tests this week, it was not unexpected that one person would test positive. He said it means the system works.

A statement from Patrick Cunning, the executive director of the Florida State Boxing Commission, reads:

“The Florida State Athletic Commission has planned for the upcoming UFC series of matches with the welfare and safety of fighters and participants remaining the principal focus and priority, As planned, health and safety protocols have been followed and will continue to be paramount as the matches begin tonight. The Commission appreciates the continued cooperation and assistance of the representatives of the UFC in ensuring these protocols support a safe and successful series of events.”

The card is being televised on ESPN+ pay per view from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

No fans are permitted to attend the event.

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