Missing from Top Rank card and frustrated over a lack of retesting, Mikaela Mayer feels decision was 'a little harsh'

Mikaela Mayer expressed frustration Tuesday over not being allowed to be retested following her positive COVID-19 test Saturday that eliminated her from tonight's Top Rank card in Las Vegas.

Mayer, who was supposed to be the co-feature bout against Helen Joseph, told ESPN she had been tested both for COVID-19 antibodies and COVID-19 on May 29 in Houston. Her nasal swab test in Texas came back negative, but her antibodies test came up positive.

This, the 29-year-old figured, meant she had already had COVID-19 earlier, leading to an even larger surprise when the oral test she took in Las Vegas came up positive.

"I'm beyond upset and disappointed," Mayer said. "But what's done is done. I'm just a little frustrated because I really feel like if I had another test, if I could retest, if that was in the protocol, and I understand it wasn't, can't rewrite the rules on the spot, but if I did have an opportunity to take another test I believe I would have been cleared."

In an effort to show it was a false positive, Mayer took a nasal swab test in Denver on Tuesday. She expects results by the end of the week.

The rest of Mayer's team, including coaches Al Mitchell and Kay Koroma, both tested negative for COVID-19. So, too, did her sparring partner in Texas, who was tested for the coronavirus after Mayer's positive test in Vegas.

Mayer said Top Rank and the Nevada State Athletic Commission were aware of her positive test for the COVID antibodies, which is why her positive test stunned her more because she's been asymptomatic. The 29-year-old also pointed to the UFC, which has had positive tests show up in their events and upon retesting came back negative.

"This is still new, we don't know a lot about it and I just think having such a cutthroat policy, like one positive test and you're done, is a little harsh," Mayer said. "Considering we don't have all the information and there has obviously been a handful of false positives in the past."

Both Mayer and her manager, George Ruiz, told ESPN they understand the protocols and they don't blame anyone for Mayer's situation should it turn out her test was a false positive. They did wonder if there could be a future refinement to Top Rank's procedures to allow for further testing if a positive test comes back similar to the UFC.

But for now, that's not the case and Mayer is back home in Colorado, upset about her missed opportunity as a co-feature on a nationally televised card that is Top Rank's first card back after shutting down due to the pandemic.

The whole situation has left her "bummed."

"I do believe it was a false positive, and I guess there is a chance that it wasn't, but if I have the antibodies I really believe it was," Mayer said. "So I really wanted to take another test on my own so I can get this cleared up and I get back into training because I want to fight.

"I peaked my body twice, two camps back-to-back and haven't been able to perform and I want to. I'm ready. My body is ready. The sooner I can clear this up, the better, and I'll have my results in about three days."

After the positive test, Mayer drove back to her home in Colorado and Mitchell, who tested negative for COVID-19, returned to Marquette, Michigan. Koroma, who also trains the headliner on Tuesday night's card, Shakur Stevenson, initially remained in Vegas but left camp Monday despite testing negative for COVID-19.

Edward Jackson is replacing Koroma in Stevenson's corner on Tuesday night. Mayer said she spoke to Koroma and she feels "horrible that he doesn't get to be in the corner with Shakur." She said her coach was supportive, told her to get retested as soon as possible so they can begin training again.

Mayer said once she's given a negative test, she'll head up to Marquette, Michigan, to train with Mitchell and considering she's had two strong camps in a row wouldn't need too much time to get back into fighting form.

"I'm hoping to continue the momentum I already have. I'm in great shape, two hard camps back-to-back, but that means getting my test back in a couple days, clearing myself and going right back into camp," Mayer said. "Peaking yourself is a process, so even taking a week off will set us back, so I want to get back into the gym as soon as possible so if I can get back into the gym in a couple of days, like, I don't need much more time.

"I'm going to head up to Marquette, where coach Al is, and a couple weeks, get some more sparring in. I ate a little bit after I found out about everything, was a little upset. Get my weight back, get my abs back and I'll be ready to go, be able to be in the gym soon."

Ruiz told ESPN that if her COVID-19 tests go well, they've begun discussing a return to the ring for Mayer in mid-July.

Information from Steve Kim was used in this report.