Marlon Moraes, the UFC’s number one contender in the bantamweight division, has tested positive for COVID-19. Moraes revealed his diagnosis when speaking with ESPN Brazil.
“Unfortunately, I got the virus—me and my wife,” Moraes said. “We were very weak, the symptoms were very strong on us. Thank God I didn’t need to go to the hospital, but I had to take my wife to the hospital.”
Moraes stated that his wife required a short hospital stay and medication for the virus that has killed at least 70,000 Brazilians.
Brazil is currently one of the world’s largest hot-spots for COVID-19 with over 1.8 million confirmed cases. Since early 2020 Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the deadly virus. Bolsonaro has publicly dismissed the effectiveness of face coverings and promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the virus. Both of these positions contradict scientific consensus regarding the spread and treatment of COVID-19.
In June it was announced that Bolsonaro had tested positive for the virus.
Moraes has been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 for around 10 days. Despite that the top contender was able to watch Saturday’s UFC bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo. Yan won that fight via fifth round TKO, claiming the belt that was left vacant when Henry Cejudo retired earlier this year.
“It was a good fight, José Aldo is a legend of the sport,” said Moraes—who beat Aldo in December. “I thought he had a good fight, he showed that he wanted to win, but Yan was better than him and we have to respect him. Aldo is not very used to losing, but in the sport, unfortunately one wins and one loses, so we have to support him. Unfortunately the belt didn’t come [home]. I’m here, other Brazilians are also in the race.”
Surprisingly Moraes did not tell ESPN that he should get the first title shot versus Yan. Instead he believes the right fight for him is former champion Cody Garbrandt.
“The fight [the UFC has] to do now is me versus Cody,” he said. “And I think they will put [Aljamain] Sterling to fight Yan and whoever wins between me and Cody will be the next to fight for the belt.”
Moraes moved his pro record to 23-6-1 with his win over Aldo last year. Prior to that bout he lost via TKO to Henry Cejudo in a fight for the vacant bantamweight title. To earn that title shot Moraes went on a four fight winning streak with stoppages over Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling.