Rener Gracie Tests Positive For COVID-19, Won’t Corner Brian Ortega

Gracie Ortega

Brian Ortega will have to face The Korean Zombie without the guidance of head coach Rener Gracie.

Ortega meets Korean Zombie in the UFC Fight Island 6 headliner this Saturday in what is a highly-anticipated featherweight affair.

For Ortega, it will be his first outing since suffering a brutal fourth-round TKO defeat to Max Holloway in their featherweight title fight back in December 2018. And his task has become even harder following Gracie’s positive COVID-19 test.

Gracie had actually tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago along with his wife. They later tested negative only for Gracie to test positive again during the UFC’s recent testing procedure in Las Vegas before flying out to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

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Gracie was hoping he would still be able to go due to his previous negative tests but was told that the residual effects of COVID-19 would remain in his body for three months in addition to the fact that there could be complications in Abu Dhabi.

Gracie posted about the news on social media late last week.

“They said ‘Rener, if you get to Abu Dhabi, and you test positive there, you’re gonna quarantine for 14 days in Abu Dhabi before they even let you come home,” Gracie said. “And you’re not gonna be able to go to the fight. You won’t be participating in anything.’ There’s zero tolerance. … Even though you’re not contagious, you can’t go with a positive COVID test. You guys, I was so bummed.

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“Of course, I let Brian know. … He’s super bummed but I assured him. I said, ‘Brian, luckily, this skillset that I bring to the table and that I’ve coached you for over 15 years in, is the most ingrained in you. Of all your skillsets in fighting. And it’s the one that you least need coaching on. So if anyone has to stay behind, it should be me.’”

What do you think of Gracie not being able to corner Ortega?