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NASA-SpaceX mission: Astronauts board the Crew Dragon from the ISS Ground beef recall 2020: JBS Food Canada recalls more than 38,000 pounds of meat UFCs Gerald Meeschaert pulls out of fight hours before event due to positive COVID-19 test

Another UFC fight has been called off after a fighter tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the event was set to begin.

The UFC’s Gerald Meerschaert announced Saturday that his matchup with Ed Herman at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night was off after testing positive for the coronavirus. Meerschaert indicated he was not feeling symptoms of the virus and would self-isolate.

Tested positive for Covid so fights off. Feel healthy and will do everything I can to keep it that way and keep those around me safe.

— Gerald Meerschaert (@The_Real_GM3) August 1, 2020

The fight was to be Meerschaert’s debut at light heavyweight. The 32-year-old holds a career record of 31-13, but has lost four of hist last six fights.

Funnily enough, Meerschaert’s most recent fight had almost been called off after opponent Ian Heinisch’s cornerman tested positive for the virus, but was put back on the schedule after a second test came back negative. Heinisch ended up beating Meerschaert via first-round TKO.

© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Gerald Meerschaert's last fight was nearly called off due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan) Withdrawal creates smallest UFC card in years

With Meerschaert vs. Herman off the card, the UFC is facing an unusually thin card for Saturday.

The Fight Night’s previous main event between Irene Aldana and Holly Holm had already been postponed after Aldana tested positive for the same virus. Another withdrawal leaves the event with just nine fights, the promotion’s lowest number since 2015, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

This 9-fight card is tied for the smallest UFC fight card in the last 5 years (UFC 223: Khabib vs Iaquinta in 2018), per @ESPNStatsInfo. The last Fight Night card with 9 fights was UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Romero in 2015.

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 1, 2020

The fight is the UFC’s first in the United States since late June, as the promotion had held four straight events at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi to work through a growing queue of international fights.

With Aldana out, Saturday’s main event will instead be a middleweight bout between rising star Edmen Shahbazyan and veteran Derek Brunson. Despite the upgrade in status, the fight will remain three rounds. A win could position Shahbazyan for a title fight and a shot at becoming the youngest champion in UFC history.

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Conor McGregor has been teasing a comeback, and one option could involve a $250 million mega-bout against Manny Pacquiao

Conor McGregor. Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

  • Conor McGregor appears to be teasing a fighting comeback on Twitter.
  • McGregor tweeted "I accept" last week, which could be a nod to a new bout agreement.
  • It is unclear who the other name on the bout agreement could be, though he had been challenged to fights against Mike Tyson, Tony Ferguson, and Khamzat Chimaev.
  • McGregor then tweeted "Tinatanggap ko" which means the same thing albeit in Tagalog, which is the language Manny Pacquiao speaks.
  • McGregor said earlier this year that he had been in discussions with Pacquiao regarding a mega-fight. The two athletes are even represented by the same management company, Paradigm SM.
  • UFC President Dana White is not enthused. "I don't care about any of that s---," he said.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Conor McGregor has been teasing a comeback, and one option could involve a $250 million mega-bout in boxing.

The Irishman announced his retirement from fighting in an abrupt social media post in June, citing boredom, tiredness, and feeling uninspired by the options presented to him by the UFC.

The UFC commentator Joe Rogan said at the time he did not believe McGregor would stay retired, multiple fighters including Dustin Poirier and Floyd Mayweather even challenged him to return, with the UFC president Dana White expecting to see McGregor fight once again within a year.

Though McGregor appears to be living his best life in retirement, celebrating his recent 32nd birthday with a drink and a smoke, he sparked speculation that he had signed a new bout agreement — one which would see him fight in the coming months.

Last week, he tweeted a two-word message saying: "I accept!"

—Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 30, 2020

It remains unclear whether McGregor was saying he accepted a fight, and so it is even more unclear who the other name on the bout agreement could even be.

However, McGregor's post did follow challenges from multiple fighters including the 58-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, the well-rounded mixed martial artist Tony Ferguson, and the fast-rising MMA prospect Khamzat Chimaev.

Though a bout with Ferguson would be the most intriguing, it is the final name on that three-man shortlist which is the most surprising.

Chimaev was one of the stand-out performers at the inaugural "Fight Island" festival last month, as the Chechen "smasher" brutalized two opponents without taking as much as a scratch in return.

But though he is still new to the UFC, Chimaev has been trolling McGregor on social media and even told White he thinks he could beat McGregor, Nate Diaz, and Jorge Masvidal on the same night.

White was asked about the "I accept" tweet at a recent media event in Las Vegas.

"That was Khamzat … Khamzat posted, 'I want Nate Diaz, Masvidal, or McGregor,' and McGregor said, 'I accept,'" White told reporters. "That's what that was."

On whether there'd be any interest from the UFC's point-of-view in booking a match between McGregor and Chimaev, White laughed. "No," he said.

"Conor's retired and Conor's move right now is, sit back, see how this year plays out and see what's next for him."

But it wasn't McGregor's only tweet that week

McGregor tweeted the same message albeit in a different language on Friday, July 31.

He said: "Tinatanggap ko."

The message was posted in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines and one spoken by the multi-weight boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

—Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 31, 2020

McGregor's name has been linked to Pacquiao's before.

Ahead of the former two-weight UFC champion's UFC 246 match against Donald Cerrone in January, McGregor said he had been in talks with Pacquiao regarding a super-fight in boxing.

Manny Pacquiao. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The bout could generate upwards of $250 million, an industry expert told Insider in Las Vegas earlier this year, and it is one Pacquiao's team was interested in at the time.When rumors started, Pacquiao's adviser Sean Gibbons challenged McGregor to a "proper" fight with his client.

The next month, Pacquiao signed management terms with Paradigm SM, an agency which also counts McGregor as a client, and made a mega-fight more likely.

Paradigm boss Audie Attar then said in May that a McGregor and Pacquiao fight remains possible, as "boxing is definitely something [McGregor] plans on doing."

White, though, does not seem enthused.

"I don't care about any of that s---," he told reporters Saturday when asked about the McGregor vs. Pacquiao rumors.

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