Mikaela Mayer Derailed by Virus and Protocol
By David A. Avila
While prizefighting returned with a bang to Las Vegas, sitting at home was Mikaela Mayer wondering what if things were different.
Mayer was set to face talented Helen Joseph in a 10 round clash at the MGM Grand in the co-main event on the Top Rank boxing card on Tuesday. The entire world was anticipating the super featherweight bout but the long reach of the coronavirus reached out and plucked her off the card.
A second test for the coronavirus showed positive for Mayer and according to Nevada State Athletic Commission protocol she was escorted from the premises and sent to an isolation unit away from the others. Her team was also separated from her. All were negative on their tests and allowed to remain.
Mayer said she was tested in Houston before departing for Las Vegas and tested negative. When she arrived in Las Vegas and was tested before the weigh-ins this test returned with positive result.
Could it have been an erroneous test?
Apparently Mayer actually passed the Covid-19 test but showed positive for carrying the coronavirus antigen. What that means is she may have already caught a different form of the coronavirus in the past. There are different older forms of the coronavirus.
Her team wished they could have been tested again, but she was not allowed another test and sent away with no recourse.
“I’m upset because I feel like I should have got a second test. If I did, I feel I would have been cleared,” said Mayer by telephone from Denver. “The protocol wouldn’t allow for it.”
According to the NSAC rules governing testing, it does not allow for another test. Also, the MGM has its own rules and demanded that she be sent away. Mayer and her team feel another test should be admitted and written into protocol.
Though Top Rank truly wanted Mayer to be on the card, the rules dictated by Nevada State Athletic Commission for Covid-19 testing and guidelines for those testing positive left only one result: Mayer was cast out of the hotel.
“I obviously had a huge opportunity. I worked really hard for that and I don’t get to compete,” said Mayer, adding that her scheduled opponent Joseph also suffered for the canceled fight. “We both trained weeks for this fight.”
Ironically, Mayer’s coach is also a trainer for Shakur Stevenson, the WBO featherweight titlist who is set for the main event. But only Mayer’s test showed traces of the coronavirus though she showed no symptoms. She even passed the fever test apparatus set up to all persons entering the MGM properties.
“I was completely normal,” said Mayer by telephone on Tuesday afternoon. Just hours before the ESPN fight telecast. “I’m so disappointed. If this was a false positive I really missed out on a lot.”
George Ruiz, who manages Mayer, said he spoke to Top Rank and all expect her to return on one of the cards coming soon if she passes her tests.
Mayer, a 2016 Olympian, took another test when she landed in Denver. She awaits the results later this week.
“It was a missed opportunity and it’s just sad,” said Mayer. “Hopefully everyone can learn from this. And hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Those awaiting televised female fights will have to wait a little longer.
(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)