MMA: Cornerman tests positive for Covid-19, but Dec 4 One Championship event will proceed

MMA: Cornerman tests positive for Covid-19, but Dec 4 One Championship event will proceed

SINGAPORE – One Championship’s Big Bang event at the Indoor Stadium will proceed as scheduled on Friday (Dec 4) night, despite a cornerman of one of the athletes testing positive for Covid-19, the mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Monday.

In a joint statement, they said the cornerman, who had tested negative before his departure from Belarus, had tested positive upon arrival here on Nov 27. He was sent to a hospital and is currently undergoing treatment.

“As part of the stringent protocols for foreign athletes and crew taking part in this event, he was placed in isolation since arrival,” said the statement.

“Three other individuals participating in the event, who were on the same flight as the cornerman, are currently serving their quarantine in a dedicated facility.”

In combat sport, cornermen can be trainers, coaches, cutmen, or training partners, and often spend a lot of time in close proximity to their fighter.

Protocols for the upcoming live event, which can have up to 250 fans in attendance, include the requirement for all foreign-based athletes, cornermen and staff to be isolated until they receive a negative test result, after which they will follow a strictly controlled itinerary that has been pre-approved.

Foreign-based athletes and One’s production crew are also required to be tested four times – before they depart their country, on arrival in Singapore, as well as before and after their fight.

“Public health and safety remain our top priority,” said One and STB. “This case was detected through the screening protocols and stringent measures that were put in place to safeguard the health of our local community as well as the athletes and production crew.”

There were two positive cases detected ahead of One’s Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30, which was also the first live sports event in Singapore since the pandemic to feature spectators. It welcomed 250 fans.

These two cases involving cornermen hailing from the United States and Russia were determined to be past infections after serological tests were conducted.

On the night of the Inside The Matrix show, STB and One announced the pair had recovered but were kept out of the event as a precautionary measure.

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Big Bang will be One’s third event here since the coronavirus crisis. The first was on Oct 9 behind closed doors before Inside The Matrix. A fourth show, Collision Course, has been scheduled for Dec 18.

Various international sporting events have gone on despite positive coronavirus tests among athletes or officials, or managed them through isolation.

Most notably, the English Premier League conducts testing routinely and announces the test rate as well as number of positive results, without naming the players or clubs involved. Those who test positive will self-isolate for 10 days while games are played as scheduled.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) completed its 2019-20 regular season and playoffs last month inside a secure “bubble” at Disney World in Orlando Florida, with players tested daily and required to quarantine for 48 hours after they arrived, or until they returned two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

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