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‘Jacare’ Souza training in his garage for UFC 249 after gym closed due to coronavirus outbreak

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Former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza still hopes to faec Uriah Hall on April 18.
Photo via Josuel Distak

All gyms had to be closed in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Brazilian middleweight Ronaldo Souza is finding a way to continue his training camp for UFC 249.

It’s an event that remains scheduled for April 18, but it doesn’t have a new location set since Brooklyn is no longer an option.

Souza lives in Florida with his wife and kids, where Governor Ron DeSantis closed bars across the state, ended classroom instruction at universities and colleges for the semester, shuttered K-12 schools until April 15, ordered a limit of 10 people at beach gatherings and restricted restaurant occupancy to 50 percent.

“Jacare” is booked to make his return to the 185-pound weight class against Uriah Hall at the pay-per-view show, and his head coach Josuel Distak told MMA Fighting that he moved his training sessions to a different location when Fusion X-cel Performance gym closed its doors until April 1st.

“We continue to train hard because we weren’t told otherwise,” Distak said. “We expect this event to happen. We’re training well. The government ordered all gyms to close for two or three weeks but we have our plan B, a gym at ‘Jacare’s’ house, a garage with mats, and we’ll keep training for those three weeks at ‘Jacare’s’ garage.”

“Jacare” has been working with a group of six that includes UFC fighters Alan Patrick, who’s scheduled to fight Frank Camacho at UFC Lincoln on April 28, and Rodolfo Vieira, who recently scored his second Octagon win. Souza’s coaches and training partners are staying in a local hotel and remain in their rooms when they are not training in the garage.

“We go from the hotel to his garage and straight back, and we’re being very careful,” Distak said. “Our biggest concern is about Brazil because it doesn’t have the structure that we have in America. … That’s messing with our heads.”

Despite the concern, Distak says there are no cases of coronavirus among their family and friends in Brazil or United States.

The UFC has canceled the next three events that were booked for London, Columbus and Portland, but Dana White wrote in a letter to UFC employees that “UFC 249 is still scheduled as planned.” The pay-per-view show is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson.