Trump lauds UFC for resuming matches

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - President Trump has congratulated UFC for restarting the sports world Saturday night after a nearly two-month hiatus.

Trump’s taped message was played during ESPN’s broadcast of the UFC 249 undercard from a fan-free arena Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. He congratulated UFC President Dana White, who is a Trump business associate and a major contributor to his re-election campaign.

UFC 249 served as the first major sporting event to take place since the global pandemic shut down much of the country nearly eight weeks ago. It was supposed to be held in New York April 18 but was postponed in hopes of helping slow the spread of COVID-19. White tried to stage the event on tribal land in California and still hopes to create a “Fight Island” for future cards.

One of the fighters scheduled to take part in UFC249 has tested positive for the COVID-19. UFC says Jacaré Souza’s middleweight bout against Uriah Hall was called off after Souza tested positive, along with his two cornermen. UFC says all three men have left the host hotel and will be self-isolating off premises, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely.