The July 31 Who’s Number One submission grappling show took two massive hits today, as star Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones announced their respective removals from the event due to positive tests for COVID-19.
Order UFC 281
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira is tonight! Watch every UFC 281 fight here.
- Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
- Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Both athletes took to social media to reveal the news, with both Ryan and Jones posting about the unfortunate developments on their Instagram accounts.
“Covid has forced me off the card this Friday but we’re in the process of rebooking this match for the near future,” wrote Jones, 29, who was set to compete against 2018 IBJJF World champion Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa.
The charismatic Australian’s match with Brazil’s Barbosa was set to serve as Who’s Number One’s co-main event.
Ryan, 25, authored a lengthier post in which, among other things, he explained that he is in a high-risk demographic for serious effects of the virus.
“Having to pull out of WNO is cheeks 😂,” wrote the reigning ADCC divisional and Absolute champion. “Unfortunately, myself and @craigjonesbjj both have covid and have to sit this one out.”
Ryan detailed his experience with COVID-19, as well as the symptoms he has noticed during his illness.
“I have been sidelined for roughly a week with my main issue being lack of appetite/food. For informational purposes, i will make an in depth explanational video about my experience with covid and how it has effected me,” said Ryan. “Even if i was over covid i felt it wasn’t right to show up and compete for the fans without a proper training camp. Sorry to all the fans, to [WNO promoter FloGrappling] flo, and most importantly, to @ronaldojuniorbjj, who was ready and willing to compete.”
Ryan, who was set to face Atos’ Ronaldo Junior, was scheduled to feature in the show’s main event. The American BJJ star wrote that the match should be rescheduled before September, jokingly adding, “If I’m still alive.”
“Lets make this match happen before September, if im still alive. If i die in the next week feel free to throw a party and be glad someone else can actually win something now 🤣. Ps- [fellow Renzo Gracie Academy standout and mentor] @garrytonon is gonna steal the show.”
Tonon, who faces Dante Leon on the card, was promoted to the main event following Ryan’s and Jones’ removals.
FloGrappling, who was promoting the Who’s Number One contests, issued a statement on their website.
“We regret to inform you that our upcoming WNO event has lost both Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones, both athletes having to pull out after showing COVID-19 symptoms in recent days,” the streaming entity stated. “We would like to thank both Craig and Gordon for being forthcoming and honest about their situation, and would also like to stress that both Gordon Ryan vs Ronaldo Junior and Craig Jones vs Lucas Barbosa are not canceled but postponed until a later date.”
Disclosure: The author of this article is also a staff writer for FloCombat, a division of FloSports. FloGrappling, the promoter of Who’s Number One, is also a division of FloSports.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.