While the vast majority of the sporting world continues to agonise as to how to safely restart their games in a safe and responsible way and refuse to rush back into normal activity, Dana White and the UFC have had a very different attitude from the beginning. After reluctantly canceling UFC 249 last month, only after ESPN's parent company Disney stepped in, the company were determined to get things back underway with the rescheduled event tonight. And even the fact that one of their fighters has tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the event isn't going to stop them.
Back in March, the magnitude of the crisis hit home for a lot of people, especially in America, when Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive. In reaction, NBA commissioner Adam Silver immediately and indefinitely suspended the season. In a similar situation two months later, the UFC say the show must go on.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was due to fight Uriah Hall on the preliminary card of the event, but last night tested positive for the virus, as did two of his trainers. Jacare had earlier suggested a family member may have the virus but had shown no symptoms and was present in the UFC Hotel in the buildup to the fight, though was in isolation, according to the company.
A fan video would suggest that wasn't exactly the case.
— Austin Price (@AJPrice803) May 9, 2020
He is now obviously off the card and has been moved from the hotel and Dana White has claimed the positive test is a positive for the company, claiming "the system works".
White spoke to ESPN's Brett Okamoto after the positive test was revealed.
We administered 1,200 tests this week, on 300 people," UFC president Dana White said. "It's not unexpected one person would test positive. The system works. And what's good about this is now we know Jacare tested positive, he's doing what he needs to do, and we're in a position to help him if he needs it."
That's certainly a lot of tests in a country where testing for frontline workers and many potentially sick people has not always been readily available.
UFC 249, which was originally set for New York on April 18th, will take place tonight in Florid after the organisation struck a deal with he state's boxing commission. The WWE has been broadcasting their shows behind closed doors ever since the pandemic began, also in Florida, in what was seen as a controversial decision by the state's government.
The UFC are set for further events in the same venue on May 13th and 16th.