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Marlon Moraes, wife diagnosed with COVID-19, targets return in October against Cody Garbrandt

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes is the latest athlete to confirm a positive test for COVID-19.

The Brazilian revealed the news on Tuesday after both he and his wife came down with symptoms related to the deadly disease. According to Moraes, his wife actually had to be admitted to a local hospital, but it appears the biggest danger from the virus has already passed.

“Unfortunately, I got the virus — me and my wife,” Moraes told ESPN in Brazil. “We were very weak, the symptoms were very strong on us. Thank God I didn’t need to go to the hospital, but I had to take my wife to the hospital.

“We spent a day at the hospital. She was treated by them, she took some medicines, then she stayed under observation.”

Moraes, who lives in South Florida and trains at American Top Team, revealed he first started feeling symptoms about 10 days ago prior to being tested for the coronavirus. He said his two children did not contract COVID-19.

ATT owner Dan Lambert told MMA Fighting that Moraes called in after falling ill – part of a gym policy to immediately report any COVID-19 symptoms – and was sent to a testing facility, which produced the positive result.

Several ATT fighters and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the gym to test fighters and enact strict policies on who’s allowed in the gym. This past week, a COVID positive forced ATT coach Mike Brown to drive back from Nevada, where he was due to fly to Abu Dhabi to corner Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251.

Lambert said he’s currently bidding out a weekly testing service and may buy a device that can perform COVID-19 tests.

While he’s still recovering from the disease, Moraes appears to be feeling much better now and he’s already looking ahead to what comes next for him.

After initially calling out former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz following his fight at UFC 249, Moraes is now turning his attention to another past title holder at 135 pounds.

“The fight [the UFC has] to do now is me versus Cody [Garbrandt],” Moraes said. “And I think they will put [Aljamain] Sterling to fight [Petr] Yan and whoever wins between me and Cody will be the next to fight for the belt.

“The [UFC] is already planning [the fight] for October. The fight has already been offered, on my part it has already been accepted, I’m just waiting for the UFC.”

Garbrandt is coming off a knockout over Raphael Assuncao in his most recent UFC appearance in June while Moraes hasn’t fought since this past December when he earned a split decision victory over Jose Aldo.