A positive COVID-19 test has caused a last-minute change to the UFC on ESPN 12 lineup.
Ramiz Brahimaj has been forced to withdraw from his promotional debut on this weekend’s fight card after his cornerman tested positive for COVID-19. The welterweight (8-2) has been fighting for LFA, and was ready to make his transition to the UFC against Takashi Sato at UFC on ESPN 12 on Saturday night. However, on Thursday evening, it was announced that Brahimaj was forced to withdraw from the card due to the risk of infection.
He will be replaced by fellow UFC newcomer Jason Witt.
“Due to a positive COVID-19 test result from one of his cornermen, Ramiz Brahimaj has been removed from his bout against Takashi Sato”, announced the UFC.
“Replacing Brahimaj will be UFC newcomer Jason Witt, pending medical clearance including a COVID-19 test. As a result, the commission has agreed to weigh in Witt separately and he will not participate in tomorrow’s official weigh-ins and faceoffs.”
Brahimaj is yet to comment on the disappointing news. He joins the likes of Jacare Souza and Matt Frevola who were previously pulled from UFC fight cards after members of their team tested positive for coronavirus.
UFC President Dana White recently admitted that the organization is bracing for a second lockdown.
“Four months ago, I could have told you anything about this business. Where we were going, what was going to happen. I don’t know now,” White said during a UFC on ESPN 11 press day. “So all I do is sit around and strategize and plan. I’m planning for a second shutdown, that it will happen again. I’m always thinking about the worst. What’s the worst thing — it’s like when you hear fighters talking about when they train, they like to put themselves in the worst positions they could possibly be in. That’s how I look at this business too. What is the worst position we could possibly be in?”
In spite of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, the UFC intends on soldiering through and hosting four cards on their “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi this July. The promotion will then return to its home base of Las Vegas for more events in August.
Stay tuned for further updates on this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 card.