POLLOCK’S MMA UPDATE: UFC increasing COVID-19 testing

UFC increasing its COVID-19 testing, Henry Cejudo vacates bantamweight title, an interview with Joe Rogan on his Spotify deal, Frankie Edgar to 135 & more.


**As the UFC prepares to run its first card in Las Vegas since the pandemic, the promotion has introduced stricter guidelines and testing for fighters and their team. In a memo that was circulated and obtained by MMA Junkie. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has also reported on the news measures, which include:
*There will be two COVID-19 swab tests administered during the week with one when fighters and corners arrive and another after Friday’s weigh-in
*After the first test, they must self-isolate until results come back. This includes not leaving the fighter hotel and having contact with anyone outside your camp
*If a positive result comes back, the person is to stay in their hotel and await instructions
*The second swab test will also require self-isolation that night until they depart for the UFC Apex on Saturday. You cannot leave the hotel unless you have direct approval from the Nevada Athletic Commission
*The UFC Performance Institute will not be open this week
*In the memo, they did not mention if the antibody testing will be administered in addition to the swab tests

**Saturday’s UFC card in Las Vegas still needs to be officially approved by the commission this Wednesday at their meeting. The UFC card for Saturday night and the UFC 250 pay-per-view on June 6th are both on the agenda.

**Henry Cejudo has been stripped of the UFC bantamweight title following the latest set of rankings released without Cejudo’s inclusion. Damon Martin of MMA Fighting confirmed with the UFC that the Olympic gold medalist was no longer recognized as their 135-pound champion. Cejudo, who was a double champion throughout 2019, has now vacated both championships with the latest following his announcement that he was retiring following his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 earlier this month. Cejudo had been vocal over the past year about being paid more and led to most believing the retirement was a negotiating tactic to secure a better deal. Cejudo fought Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title in June 2019 and stopped Moraes in the third round becoming a dual champion at 125 and 135 pounds. Cejudo has a 16-2 record and has not lost a fight since a split decision nod to Joseph Benavidez in December 2016.

Cejudo wrote the following on Monday afternoon:

Thank you for the awesome experiences uncle @danawhite I will forever be grateful. Thank you for taking a chance on the sport that people thought would never make it. To all my coaches and fans it been a wonderful ride. Triple C is out 🎤 #retiredontop

**Bari Weiss of the New York Times spoke with Joe Rogan after the news of his Spotify deal broke. Rogan would not speak on the rumored figured that it’s worth more than $100 million. The opinion piece analyzed the growing influence Rogan has in the fractured media landscape and where he has built a system in which he doesn’t answer to anyone and cannot be canceled. This opened a subject by Weiss on Rogan’s ability to deflect on the heavier subject matter by stating he’s a comedian and distancing himself from being a media member yet holding an enormous influence that exceeds many media outlets in present-day culture. On the political front, he spoke about the shocking level of response to his casual mention that he was set to vote for Bernie Sanders when he was still in the Democratic leadership race. In the piece, it notes Rogan turned down Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg who wanted to come on the popular podcast. Rogan will launch on Spotify later this year and then move all his content exclusively to Spotify around the end of the year.

**Combate reports that Nova Uniao head coach Andre Pederneiras has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating himself from family members. Pederneiras, 53, started having chills earlier this month and later saw that one of his children had a swollen eye and the other had diarrhea. He was worried one of them may have the virus and got himself tested to discover he was positive. Below is a portion of the statement Pederneiras issued to Combate:

I took the Covid-19 test and it was positive. I am well, fulfilling my isolation at home, and my biggest concern at this moment is to continue our fundraising campaign, because the hunger of the less fortunate cannot fail to be quenched, due to a momentary medical loss in the middle of this War that we are fighting to feed the less fortunate.

Regardless of whether I am unable to go to the street, our army of athletes and collaborators will continue to distribute basic food baskets at scheduled times – and as soon as I am cleared, I will be back in front of everything, buying and distributing food to, together , we win this war.

**ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that flyweights Cynthia Calvillo and Jessica Eye have agreed to fight on a yet-to-announced UFC Fight Night card on Saturday, June 13th. ESPN adds that the fight would serve as the main event, although no location has been revealed for this show. After a devastating knockout loss to Valentina Shevchenko, Eye came back and defeated Viviane Araujo last December in a fight where Eye missed weight at 131 pounds. This would also mark Calvillo’s move up from strawweight after missing weight in her last outing last December against Marina Rodriguez where he stepped on the scale at 120.5 pounds. Calvillo is 5-1-1 since joining the UFC in 2017.

**MMA Fighting is reporting that UFC fighters Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz have agreed to terms to fight on July 11th. The UFC has not revealed that date yet. This would mark Edgar’s first fight at bantamweight after competing at lightweight and featherweight throughout his UFC career that began in February 2007. At 145 pounds, Edgar has lost three of his four fights and is coming off losses to Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung. Munhoz, 33, has won seven of his last nine fights. After knocking out Cody Garbrandt in March 2019, Munhoz is coming off a decision loss to Aljamain Sterling last June at UFC 238.

**To no one’s surprise, there is a long line of fighters seeking to fight 53-year old Mike Tyson after a video of him sparring spread rapidly. David Feldman, the president of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship told MMA Fighting that the group is preparing to make Tyson an offer that will exceed $20 million and will include charitable donations as part of the deal. It is not known if that would be a guaranteed figure or be attached to pay-per-view buys. Feldman threw out Wanderlei Silva’s name as a potential opponent. Others such as Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock, Shannon Briggs have all expressed a willingness to fight Tyson.

Is there any way to justify such a fight occurring in 2020? Of course not, but if you have seen the trends of the industry forever if there is money to made then exceptions will also be made. Will they find a place to run such a fight? Yes. Ultimately, this comes down to Tyson’s willingness to fight and what type of money would be guaranteed as opposed to points on a pay-per-view where it’s a crapshoot. As Golden Boy learned in their lone MMA venture, just having two big names as they did with Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell meant nothing on pay-per-view nor did Ortiz and Alberto Del Rio. Tyson would mean a whole lot more than those examples and him fighting would generate mainstream attention but it would also be among the most irresponsible fights to book when his body was compromised a generation ago and had nothing left by the end of his career fifteen years ago.

**Vitor Belfort posted a video training with Mike Tyson on Sunday, the day after both attended AEW’s Double or Nothing card in Jacksonville, Florida.


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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.