News recently broke that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and has been pulled out of his UFC 249 bout against Uriah Hall. According to the report, Jacare arrived in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday and notified the UFC that he may have had exposure from family members. Friday, results came back and he was indeed positive for the coronavirus.
The UFC has since confirmed the report, also announcing that both of Jacare’s cornermen also tested positive for COVID-19.
As per UFC’s health and safety protocols, all three men have left the host hotel and will be self-isolating off premises, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment.
In the announcement, UFC also somehow called this a win, indicating the “effectiveness” of their health measures.
There have been no other positive COVID-19 tests reported from the remaining athletes participating in UFC 249.
The response to this development is indicative of the effectiveness of the health and safety measures UFC has put in place for this event.
Stephen A. Smith’s report said that upon learning about Jacare’s possible exposure, the UFC “instantly went into ‘urgent mode’ in testing him” and “completely isolated him in his hotel.”
In the announcement, UFC also claimed that “Souza and his cornermen followed UFC health and safety protocols, including practicing social distancing, wearing personnel protective equipment, and self-isolating whenever possible.”
Jacare was allowed to continue cutting weight, participate in UFC activities, and remained on the card despite possible exposure. While it was claimed that Jacare was “completely isolated,” he was also seen mingling with other camps in the host hotel.
This was earlier today from Werdum’s Instagram story.— Danny Segura (@dannyseguratv) May 9, 2020
“Jacare” very close with a group of people all certainly within 6 feet. pic.twitter.com/x1Dcus734G
UFC’s claims of no other fighter/staff testing positive won’t hold much weight, if tests were done Tuesday and Wednesday, and people were exposed to the carriers after. Also worth noting that only “one of Souza’s COVID-19 tests” came up positive.
As explained earlier about the two tests UFC is conducting, experts say that diagnostic swabs “won’t identify someone who has recently been infected” as it takes a few days before the virus replicates and becomes detectable in the throat and nose.
Jacare’s team was with other staff and fighters in the hotel for days, and they have likely been sparring and grappling with more for weeks. There could be potentially much more individuals and families exposed in their homes/areas, so hopefully more contact tracing and testing would be done, with those identified being isolated to prevent further spread.
As for the UFC, they seem to be spinning this into a victory for their policies, and they’ve already announced plans to still continue with Saturday’s event.