Rener Gracie Won’t Be In Brian Ortega’s Corner After Positive Covid-19 Test

Rener Gracie has revealed he won’t be able to coach Brian Ortega during his fight with The Korean Zombie on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 180 after he tested positive for Covid-19.

It’s a big frustration for Gracie as he revealed that he’d already tested positive a month ago and had since tested negative, but trace amounts appear to still linger in his system and so due to safety protocols the UFC won’t be able to fly him out to Fight Island for the showdown.

“You guys, I’m not going to Abu Dhabi for the UFC with Brian,” Gracie stated in an Instagram video. “About a month ago, my wife and I tested positive for COVID … two weeks of quarantine, tested negative, we were back to work, back to teaching. A week ago, UFC sends us test kits, we do the test, I test negative. And we go to Vegas, to quarantine, and be tested in Vegas before the flight to Abu Dhabi.

“The test I did yesterday, in Vegas, before this morning’s [chartered] flight to Abu Dhabi tested positive. I spoke to the UFC doctors, and I said, ‘You guys, I was positive a month ago.’ And they say that the residual effect of COVID can be in your body for up to three months after you have it and test positive. And I said, ‘Yo it’s residual. I was asymptomatic then. I feel nothing now. I’m good to go!’

“They were great, but they reiterated – Rener, if you get to Abu Dhabi, and you test positive there, they are going to quarantine you for 14 days in Abu Dhabi, before they even let you come home. And you’re not going to be able to go with the fight. You’re not going to be participating in anything. They said it’s better not to go – there’s zero tolerance, even if you’ve had COVID already, and you have developed the antibodies, and you’re good to go, you’re in the clear. They said even though you’re not contagious, you can’t go with a positive COVID test.

“You guys, I was so bummed. So bummed. And of course, I let Brian know, yesterday, we were both in Vegas, getting the team ready to go. At first, Brian thought I was joking, because I tested negative already twice in the last two weeks. And I wasn’t. And of course, he’s super bummed. But I assured him, I said ‘Brian, luckily this skill set that I bring to the table and that I coached you for over 15 years in, is the most ingrained in you, of all your skill sets in fighting. It’s the one that you least need coaching on. So, if anyone has to stay behind, it should be me.’

“Brian has grown tremendously as a fighter over the last two years. He’s had a lot of time to grow and really reevaluate himself and his objectives. He’s brought on an incredible team. … I let him know, I said, ‘Bro, every fight I’ve ever coached you, before you did the guillotine, or the Darse, or the flying Triangle, I thought it, and before I was able to say it, you did it. So you’re in great hands with the team. I’ll be watching like the rest of the world. And we’re there with you, brother, until the end.’

“Best of wishes to the team. Of course, I’ll be checking up on him throughout the week. But I’m here in California, bummed as all can be. But pulling for my boy and for the crew out there. Let’s make it a good one.

“Sorry to everybody. I tried. I fought, I really wanted to go, I tried to pull all of the strings we could, but it didn’t happen. So I’m here in California … about to teach a Zoom >

“Thank you, and stay safe.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.