First MMA meeting behind closed doors on Saturday evening in Jacksonville, Florida, despite the positive test at Covid-19 of a Brazilian fighter. Donald Trump is pressuring for sport to resume in his country.
The UFC , the largest professional mixed martial arts (MMA) league, resumed behind closed doors Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida, despite a positive coronavirus test from one of the fighters on the program and while all other sports are stationary in the country.
The case of Covid-19 infection of Brazilian Ronaldo Jacare Souza, announced Friday evening by the broadcaster ESPN, and the cancellation of his fight, did not prevent the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) from resuming its rights, to the great satisfaction of his boss Dana White. “It worked well,” welcomed the president of the UFC, who had obtained the green light from the boxing doctors and MMA to resume, provided they respect precautions against the coronavirus.
The evening was marked by the triumph of the American Justin Gaethje, who was knocked out by KO of the interim lightweight title at the expense of his compatriot Tony Ferguson. The ambitious 31-year-old Gaethje can now claim a fight against the king of the category, the undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov, in an attempt to grab the regular lightweight title.
In the heavyweight category, the Franco-Cameroonian Francis Ngannou only needed 20 seconds to defeat the Surinamese Jairzinho Rozenstruick.
Eleven fights were on the program of UFC 249, organized at the Veterans Memorial Stadium (15,000 seats) which sounded hollow in the absence of spectators.
While the sport is almost paralyzed in the world, that the NBA and the NHL, among others, are suspended due to the pandemic, the UFC is the first major American sports body to return to its competitions, after being criticized for to have tried to do it, in vain, three weeks ago in California.
“We want the return of our sports”
In a message recorded and broadcast during the evening, the President of the United States Donald Trump congratulated Dana White for the return of the UFC. “Restart the sports leagues. Let’s play, “said the President. “You do social distancing and everything else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back, ”added Donald Trump.