UFC Fight Island 7 loses bout to COVID-19

A bantamweight bout between Ricky Simon and Brian Kelleher slated for UFC Fight Island 7 has been canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test. It marks the second time that a COVID-19 test result has nixed the fight.

Simon and Kelleher were initially supposed to have fought at UFC Vegas 9 in September. The bout was postponed from that event because one of Simon’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19. Kelleher instead faced Ray Rodriguez, whom he submitted in 39 seconds.

The fight with Simon was then rescheduled for Jan. 16 at UFC Fight Island 7 in Abu Dhabi. It has been canceled once again because of COVID-19 after Kelleher tested positive.

Kelleher tweeted the cancellation, noting that he believes it was a false positive that forced him out of the bout.

“I think it’s a false positive, to be honest. Will find out soon. I’ll be back shortly. Thanks for those who showed concern,” Kelleher wrote.

“All the people I’ve been close proximity with have tested negative. Hope to get this fight rebooked early February. I know you wanna see this fight.”

Kelleher is thus far asymptomatic, but hopes that a follow-up test will prove negative and he can get the fight rebooked quickly.

“Put a lot of work in to peak at a certain time. That’s the hard part. Gotta reset and keep on keeping on,” he continued.

“Hoping to get a negative test soon and rebook this fight for early February. My girlfriend and training partners are negative and I feel no symptoms, so hopefully false positive.”

UFC Fight Island 7 is headlined by former featherweight champion Max Holloway, who squares off with Calvin Kattar. It is the promotion’s first of three events set to take place over an eight-day span in Abu Dhabi. UFC Fight Island 8 is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 20. Conor Mcgregor returns to rematch Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 headliner on Saturday, Jan. 20.

It will be the third time that the UFC has traveled to Fight Island to host events since the nearly global coronavirus shutdown in the spring of 2020.


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