Saturday night, the UFC will return to action with UFC 249. Tony Ferguson will face off with Justin Gaethje, headlining what many fans believe to be a "stacked" fight card. There will be one major change, however, considering that fans will not be allowed to attend, and now Daniel Cormier has provided a glimpse of the arena.
The heavyweight star walked around the arena on Saturday evening and showed off the assortment of tables and chairs set up for UFC 249. There was plenty of wide-open space and all of the seats were further than six feet apart. Some people will still be required to sit near each other, such as commentators Joe Rogan and Jon Anik, but the commissioners and cornermen will be following social distancing guidelines. Cormier also showed several officials walking around wearing masks and gloves.
"Shouldn't be happening period. Already one confirmed covid 19 case. I'm psyched to see the fights but risking your lives for it? No it's stupid and shows the WME cares more for its profits then its fighters," one person wrote on Twitter after watching the video. Others responded by showing their excitement for the upcoming fights.
The one confirmed case was revealed on Saturday morning. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza tested positive for the coronavirus following weigh-ins and was pulled from the fight card. He was previously scheduled to face off with Uriah Hall during the preliminaries. His two cornermen and were revealed to be asymptomatic.
There were discussions between UFC officials and the Florida State Boxing Commission after Souza tested positive. Ultimately, they decided to proceed with the event. UFC President Dana White explained that 1,200 tests had been administered to 300 people and only Souza had tested positive. The other 23 fighters were still ready and able to take part in UFC 249.
"UFC's medical team examined Souza and his two cornermen and found them to be currently asymptomatic, or not exhibiting the common symptoms of COVID-19," the UFC said in a statement. "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."
The main card of 249 will be highlighted by Ferguson and Gaethje facing off for the interim lightweight title. There are also several other big bouts to draw the attention of the viewers at home. Henry Cejudo will be defending his bantamweight title against an MMA legend in Dominick Cruz. The main card will be rounded out by three big-name fights. Francis Ngannou will face off with Jairzinho Rozenstruik while Jeremy Stephens takes on Calvin Kattar. Additionally, former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy will return to the octagon for a fight against Yorgan De Castro.