Coronavirus Singapore

Mixed martial arts event to proceed despite cornerman testing positive

A specimen from a mixed martial arts fan being tested before the fan was allowed to be only one of 250 to watch the Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30. A mixed martial arts fan getting a nose swab taken to test for Covid-19 at a clinic before being cl
A mixed martial arts fan getting a nose swab taken to test for Covid-19 at a clinic before being cleared to watch One Championship's Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30. There were two positive cases detected ahead of that event involving cornermen from the United States and Russia. Both were determined to be past infections after serological tests were conducted.PHOTO: RAFFLES MEDICAL GROUP
A specimen from a mixed martial arts fan being tested before the fan was allowed to be only one of 250 to watch the Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30. A mixed martial arts fan getting a nose swab taken to test for Covid-19 at a clinic before being cl
A specimen from a mixed martial arts fan being tested before the fan was allowed to be only one of 250 to watch the Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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

In a joint statement, they said the cornerman, who had tested negative before his departure from Belarus, had tested positive on arrival here last Friday. He was taken 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 fighters.

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 Covid-19 test result, after which they will follow a strictly controlled itinerary that has been pre-approved.

Foreign-based athletes and One Championship's production crew are also required to be tested four times - before they leave their country, on arrival in Singapore, as well as before and after their fights.

"Public health and safety remain our top priority," said One Championship 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 Championship's Inside the Matrix event on Oct 30, which was the first live sports event here since the pandemic to feature spectators. It welcomed 250 fans.

The two cases, involving cor-nermen from the United States and Russia, were determined to be past infections after serolo-gical tests were conducted. On the night of the Inside The Matrix show, STB and One Championship announced the pair had recovered but were kept out of the event as a precautionary measure.

Big Bang will be One Championship's third event here since the outbreak. 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 have been managed 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 in October 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 Covid-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2020, with the headline 'Mixed martial arts event to proceed despite cornerman testing positive'. Print Edition | Subscribe