The COVID-19 pandemic has really taken a toll on the entire planet. As far as the sports world is concerned, it put a halt to all activity for a few months for precautionary reasons. After all, no one was (or still is) equipped to battle this invisible enemy.
A few months into the pandemic, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, defied the odds and kept his promise of being the first major sports organization to get the ball rolling, staging UFC 249 on May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. It didn’t take long for COVID-19 to show its ugly head, though, as Ronaldo Souza and a few of his cornermen tested positive for the virus, prompting his removal from the event.
As a result, UFC implemented extensive testing and precautionary protocols — as well as locking down a “private” island to stage fights — in order to further prevent the spread of the virus at events.
Several cases have popped up since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, forcing the promotion to scramble, reschedule bouts and book last-minute replacements. Below you will find the extensive and updated list of all the positive tests produced by fighters and/or their coaching staff, as well as those who were affected by coronavirus without testing positive.
- Rose Namajunas revealed she had withdrawn from her fight against Jessica Andrade at UFC 249 after losing several family members to COVID-19.
- Lyman Good was the first UFC fighter to test positive in March and was forced to withdraw from UFC 249 where he was originally set to take on Belal Muhammad on April 19.
- Ronaldo Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, and “Jacare” was forced to withdraw from his fight against Uriah Hall at UFC 249.
- Ian Heinisch was almost forced to withdraw from UFC 250 after one of his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19. A day later it was revealed the test was a false positive and Heinisch was allowed to compete on the card against Gerald Meerschaert.
- Matt Frevola was removed from his fight against Frank Camacho at UFC Vegas 3 after one of Frevola’s cornermen — UFC fighter Billy Quarantillo — tested positive. Frevola produced two negative results, but was kept from fighting for precautionary reasons.
- Ramiz Brahimaj was pulled from his fight against Takashi Soto at UFC Vegas 4 on June 26 after one of his cornermen tested positive.
- On July 3, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov — Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father and trainer — passed away as a result of complications stemming from COVID-19.
- Gilbert Burns and his coach, Greg Jones, tested positive on July 3 and “Durinho” was forced out of his Welterweight title fight against Kamaru Usman. Jorge Masvidal was pegged as a late replacement. In turn, Masvidal’s trainer, Mike Brown, also tested positive and was unable to make the trip to “Fight Island.”
- Alexander Romanov was forced to withdraw from his fight against Marcin Tybura at UFC 251 on July 9 after testing positive.
- Pedro Munhoz tested positive on July 6 and was forced to withdraw from his fight against Frankie Edgar, which was set to headline UFC Fight Island 1 on July 15. It was rebooked a few more times and eventually headlined UFC on ESPN 15 on Aug. 22.
- Vinicius Moreira was forced to withdraw from his fight against Modestas Bukauskas at UFC Fight Island 1 after testing positive.
- Anderson dos Santos tested positive and was also forced out of UFC Fight Island 1.
- A fight between Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez was scrapped from UFC Fight Island 1 after one of Rodriguez’s cornermen tested positive.
- After testing positive for COVID-19 months before his scheduled fight against Joseph Benavidez at UFC FIght Island 2, Deiveson Figueiredo was in danger of being pulled from the fight after a false positive test surfaced on July 10. He eventually cleared and submitted “Joe Jitsu” to retain his Flyweight title.
- Irene Aldana was forced to withdraw from her fight against Holly Holm — which was set to headline UFC Vegas 5 — on July 22 after testing positive for COVID-19.
- Viviane Araujo tested positive and withdrew from her fight against Jennifer Maia set for UFC Vegas 5. She was replaced by Joanne Calderwood.
- Gerald Meerschaert tested positive on Aug. 1 and was removed from his fight against Ed Herman at UFC Vegas 5.
- A fight between Nicco Montano and Julia Avila was set to go down on Aug. 8 at UFC Vegas 6, but was rescheduled after one of Montano’s coaches tested positive.
- A rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba was scratched from UFC 252 after Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 11. It was rebooked for UFC Vegas 8 on Aug. 29.
- On Aug. 20, Mark Streigl tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to make his UFC debut against Timur Valiev at UFC on ESPN 15.
- Ovince Saint Preux tested positive and forced to withdraw from his fight against Alonzo Menifield, scheduled to go down at UFC on ESPN 15 on Aug. 22.
- Nicco Montano tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 29 and her fight against Julia Avila was once again rescheduled, this time for Sept. 5.
- On Aug. 29, Ricky Simon was pulled from his fight against Brian Kelleher set for UFC Vegas 9 on Sept. 5 after one of his coaches tested positive.
- On Aug. 29 Ion Cutelaba again tested positive for COVID-19 and his rematch against Magomed Ankalaev was once again postponed.
- On Sept. 2, Glover Teixeira tested positive and his Light Heavyweight bout against Thiago Santos — which was set to headline UFC Vegas 10 on Sept. 12 — will now be the co-main event to a “Fight Night” event headlined by Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana on Oct. 3.
- On Sept. 5, Thiago Moises tested positive and his fight against Jaline Turner — set to go down at UFC Vegas 9 that night — was scratched.
- On Sept 5, UFC Vegas 9 suffered another setback due to COVID 19 — and on fight day, no less — as Marco Rogerio de Lima tested positive and was forced out of his Heavyweight fight against Alexander Romanov. No replacement could be found on such short notice.
- On Sept 5. Kevin Natividad was pulled from his fight against Brian Kelleher, initially for undisclosed reasons. It was later revealed that Natividad’s initial COVID-19 test came back positive. Kevin convinced the promotion to test him further due to the fact that all of his team who made the trip to Vegas tested negative. Results of the additional tests came back negative, though the decision to keep Natividad from fighting for precautionary reasons remained.
- On Sept. 10, Frank Camacho tested positive for coronavirus and was yanked from his UFC Vegas 10 showdown opposite Brock Weaver and replaced by lightweight “Contender Series” standout Jalin Turner.
- On Sept. 15, Daniel Cormier revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 around five weeks prior to his championship trilogy fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 252, which went down on Aug. 15, 2020. “DC’s” diagnosis was not revealed at the time, though he did pass all of the pre-fight COVID-19 tests prior to the fight.
- On Sept. 15, Eduardo Garagorri was forced out of his fight against Mirsad Bektic — which was scheduled for UFC Vegas 11 on Sept. 19, 2020 — after one of his cornermen tested positive for coronavirus.
- On Sept. 15, Thiago Santos tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced out of his fight against Glover Teixeira which was set to go down on Oct. 3. Two weeks prior, it was Teixeira who tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the promotion to reschedule the fight to Oct. 3.
- On Sept. 16, Johnny Walker revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 sometime in August, which ultimately delayed his return to action. He was eventually booked to face Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11, set to go down on Sept. 19.
It’s important to keep in mind that the list above only shows documented and confirmed cases that have been made public.
Keep it locked in to MMAmania.com for continued updates.