MMA: Four who arrived for One C'ship events test positive for Covid-19; one deemed a past infection
SINGAPORE – Four participants who entered Singapore to participate in a series of professional mixed martial arts (MMA) events in April have tested positive for Covid-19, One Championship and the Singapore Tourism Board said in a joint statement on Friday (April 9).
Three hailed from Serbia, Brazil and Canada – all believed to be athletes – and tested positive upon arrival on April 4. A fourth participant, who was unidentified but is understood to be a cornerman of one of the fighters, also later tested positive.
“All four participants had tested negative for Covid-19 before flying into Singapore,” said the statement.
“As part of the stringent protocols for foreign participants, they were placed in isolation upon arrival. After testing positive for Covid-19, they were conveyed to a hospital for treatment.”
The slew of positive tests led to One announcing changes to two of the fights on its undercard for the One on TNT 1 event that was held on Thursday morning at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It was the first of four events scheduled to take place over four weeks in April, with the goal of being broadcast on prime time in the United States as Singapore-based organisation One, which has established its presence in Asia for almost a decade, looks to expand its footprint in North America.
For the first show, One pulled Serbian kickboxer Rade Opacic and Iranian fighter Mehdi Barghi from the event, citing “health and safety protocols”. Their respective opponents, Patrick Schmid of Switzerland and Oumar Kane of Senegal, faced each other in a heavyweight MMA fight which the latter won by knockout.
In their statement, One and the STB also explained that one of the four individuals who tested positive has been discharged from hospital as his serological test result had come back positive, indicating a likely past infection.
“As an added precaution, he had undergone a PCR test on April 6 and tested negative for Covid-19. As such, he will be allowed to participate in the event,” said the statement.
This individual is understood to be Brazilian MMA fighter John Lineker, who is scheduled to face American Troy Worthen, who is based in Singapore, on the One on TNT 3 event which takes place only on April 22.
This is not the first instance of participants of One events testing positive.
Ahead of the Inside the Matrix event that took place on Oct 30, two cornermen – hailing from the United States and Russia – tested positive and while serological tests deemed these were past infections, they were kept out of the event as a precautionary measure.
And ahead of the Big Bang event on Dec 4, one of the coaches of One kickboxing light heavyweight champion Roman Kryklia tested positive. Since they had been in close contact, the Ukrainian fighter’s title defence against Dutch-Turkish fighter Murat Aygun – the fight with top billing – was cancelled.
A Russian fighter also tested positive upon arrival ahead of One’s Collision Course event on Dec 18, but the event proceeded as planned without him.
One and the STB stressed that the One on TNT series is a closed-door production without any spectators, unlike the five “live” events that were staged by the organisation at the Indoor Stadium since October. Those featured up to 250 spectators in a pilot programme held in collaboration with the Government.
The statement reiterated: “Public health and safety remain our top priority. We will continue to work with the Singapore Government to ensure the safety of our athletes, crew and community.”
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