Ronaldo Souza got pulled from his UFC 249 less than 24 hours before his middleweight clash with Uriah Hall after testing positive for coronavirus in Jacksonville, Fla., and fellow fighter Fabricio Werdum saw himself inserted in the discussion after he posted on social media a video of a hotel interaction with “Jacare.”
Werdum, who met Aleksei Oleinik in the preliminary portion of the show, had a brief chat with the fellow jiu-jitsu wizard before or after the official weigh-ins last Friday. Souza was wearing gloves and a mask, but Werdum didn’t have any one of those personal protective equipment.
“I wasn’t expecting that ‘Jacare’ thing, but ‘Jacare’ took all the precautions, was wearing a mask and gloves, and so was I,” Werdum told MMA Fighting. “I only took the mask off to talk to him a little bit, I was taking the mask off and putting it back on.”
The UFC had a safety protocol regarding COVID-19 testing and ended up flagging “Jacare” and two cornermen before the Brazilian entered the cage the next day, but the company still has faced some backlash for moving forward with a show despite the global pandemic.
For Werdum, the mixed martial arts company has done a great job keeping everyone safe backstage.
“The UFC was very careful,” Werdum said. “The UFC was really well prepared for this event. It’s impressive. They were checking our temperature every day, I had to do several exams. I got tested for coronavirus three times since I got there.”
UFC president Dana White said both Souza and Hall will get “figured out” when asked if they would be paid despite not competing Saturday.
“‘Jacare’ is a friend of mine for many years, I really like him. I was sad for him,” Werdum said. “I texted him and he said he was very upset too because the prejudice is hard. There’s always someone to talk crap. It pisses me off because some people have no respect.
“You think ‘Jacare’ said, ‘Oh, I wanna have the coronavirus’? No, no one wants to have it. No one wants to catch this sh*t and pass it on to their families. Nobody. But it happens. People talk crap, but thank God the UFC is assisting him and he will be alright. He won’t have the strong symptoms because he’s always well-prepared and that helps.”