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Mayor of Jacksonville Comments on Jacare and UFC 249, Dana White Interacts With Jacare at Weigh-Ins

May 9, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Jacare Souza UFC Ronaldo Souza

As previously reported, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza” has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he’s been pulled from his scheduled bout with Uriah Hall for tomorrow’s UFC 249 fight card. Since the initial report on Jacare’s positive test, the UFC released an official statement saying that two of Jacare’s cornermen were also flagged with positive tests for COVID-19. This has led to some controversy and criticism online for UFC moving ahead with the event and the steps taken surrounding Jacare, who arrived to Jacksonville, Florida for the event on Wednesday. Lenny Curry, the Mayor of Jacksonville, weighed in on the topic on Twitter.

Curry wrote, “The 1st live sporting event since worldwide lockdowns started is happening in Jacksonville. We told you it would be aggressively tested and safe. A fighter has tested positive for coronavirus and will NOT participate in his fight in our city.”

He added that the procedures with Jacare prove that the testing process works and gave the UFC his approval for tomorrow’s event. Curry continued, “2. The testing process we established works. We look forward to bringing the world a live sporting event from Jacksonville, Florida. See y’all tomorrow @danawhite”

Additionally, Florida State Athletic Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham, reportedly backed the event, according to UFC executive Hunter Campbell (via MMAWeekly). Cunningham stated, “We’re very impressed with your entire process. You have our full support. We have no reservations about the event going on tomorrow. We think this is the template for combat sports moving forward.”

White himself has come under criticism for interacting with Jacare during the weigh-ins, which were held yesterday (May 8). During the weigh-ins, White was seen fist-bumping Jacare, which technically goes against social distancing guidelines. Jacare was wearing a rubber glove on his hand and a face mask. However, White was wearing neither (see below).

As of right now, UFC 249 appears to be moving forward as planned, sans the Hall vs. Jacare fight. UFC 249 takes place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville later today in Jacksonville, Florida. 411 will have live coverage of the show. The fight card will be available live on ESPN+. Prelims will be broadcast live on ESPN.