MMA: Russian fighter tests positive for Covid-19, but Dec 18 One Championship event in S'pore to proceed

Collision Course is the fourth One live event in Singapore since the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - One Championship's Collision Course event at the Indoor Stadium will proceed as scheduled on Friday (Dec 18) night despite one of the athletes involved testing positive for Covid-19, the mixed martial arts organisation and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Wednesday.

It is the third One event since it returned to staging shows in October, where an individual slated to feature in the event has had to withdraw participation because of a positive test.

In the joint statement, One and STB said the athlete, a 29-year-old Russian, had tested positive upon arrival on Monday. He had tested negative for Covid-19 before flying from St Petersburg.

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

"After testing positive for Covid-19, he was conveyed to a hospital and is undergoing treatment.

"A cornerman who was on the same flight and had prior interaction with the athlete is currently serving 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.

There are two Russian fighters - Marat Gafurov and Yusup Saadulaev, both 35 - scheduled to compete in separate bouts on Collision Course. The Straits Times understands the affected athlete was slated to be on the Collision Course II card, which is yet to be announced but is pre-taped on the same night as Collision Course. This will be broadcast at a later date.

Collision Course is the fourth One live event in Singapore since the coronavirus pandemic.

It held a closed-door event on Oct 9 and another on Oct 30, which was the first live sports event here to welcome spectators. It had 250 fans in attendance.

Before the second event, called Inside the Matrix, cornermen of two athletes tested positive but they were determined to be past infections after serological tests, and had recovered.

Still, they were kept out of the event as a precautionary measure but the programme was not disrupted.

Then, the main event of the third show on Dec 4, called Big Bang, was pulled from the card after one of the fighters, Roman Kryklia, was withdrawn as a precautionary measure after coming into close contact with an individual who test positive.

One's events are part of a pilot project the Government hopes will help identify a model that can be widely implemented so that more large-scale events can resume safely in Singapore.

Stringent protocols have been adopted and 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.

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