Claudia Gadelha and Dan Ige both took home close and somewhat disputed decision wins at UFC on ESPN card in Jacksonville, Florida on May 16th. Prior to those hard fought victories though, they both shared that they dealt with some COVID-19 scares from what ended up as test results that they called “inconclusive” and “false positives.”
“Something that happened that I want to bring up in fight night,” Gadelha started, in an appearance on SiriusXM. “I’m crazy obsessive with nutrition and if you stop to look at it, I was so bloated on fight night. I feel like a lot of that has to do with all the stress that I been through the entire camp. And also when I got to Jacksonville, my first test came back inconclusive so I had to quarantine for the first 24 hours in the room by myself.
“I couldn’t go to my workout room to cut weight for the first 24 hours and I was like ‘oh my god!’ I started freaking out. I was up all night thinking I had Corona. The UFC called me and they were like ‘Jacare’s test came back in the same way, so we think you have it’. So I was freaking out all night.
“For the first day, I couldn’t cut weight. I couldn’t leave my room. Anything I needed, they brought to me. They actually moved me to another floor by myself and I couldn’t see anybody. The UFC were bringing me food and water, and they brought a sauna to my room but I couldn’t cut weight on the first day, I need to workout.”
On the same show, Ige shared that his teammate also had a similar test result.
“My brother-in-law, I always put him in my corner, the same thing happened to him. He got a false positive,” Ige revealed. “He was going to stay with me in my room but they isolated him, got him his own room and then here I am for 24-hours freaking out like ‘oh my god, does he have Coronavirus? Do I have Coronavirus?’ I was just freaking out, he was freaking out, but same thing (as Gadelha), false positive.”
For the three events in Jacksonville, the UFC revealed that they were conducting two kinds of COVID-19 tests, antibody tests and diagnostic swabs. Based on their stories, it seems like the antibody tests gave concerning results, making them isolate both Gadelha and Ige’s cornerman, until results of the diagnostic swabs came in.
As discussed earlier when explaining the pros and cons of the two kinds of tests, antibody tests have results in a few minutes, but have been known to give many false positives, and “are not used to diagnose current disease.” The diagnostic swab has its limitations, but are far more reliable. It also takes much longer for the results to come in.
As they explained, presumably those PCR swabs eventually came out negative, clearing both to continue participating in the last ESPN event.
For the upcoming Las Vegas events, the UFC has updated their COVID-19 policies with better quarantine protocols. They also noted changes in the actual tests being used upon arrival. The earlier swabs were Nasopharyngeal, or through the nose, and they will now be using Oropharyngeal swabs, which are done through the mouth.
UFC 249 participants all signed a waiver that prevented them from suing, disclosing or criticizing the UFC for COVID-19 related matters or otherwise. The controversial waiver is said to have been altered after it was brought to light, meaning if Gadelha and Ige signed the newer version, their fight purses purses aren’t likely to be in danger for disclosing these testing details.