The heavyweight lives in Houston and spent much of the second half of August and early September helping Hurricane Harvey victims. The tragedy had a big impact on Lewis, of course. His neighborhood wasn’t directly affected, but many people still need help even today.
“I don’t think so,” he told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani when asked if the city of Houston is slowly getting back to its feet. “Most of the places that got flooded, they wasn’t expecting it, so they didn’t have flood insurance. So they really lost everything. It sucks.
“I’m still helping out. Last week we were still delivering food.”
Harvey was one of the many catastrophes that occurred in North America over the past month and a half. Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria drastically affected Puerto Rico, and most recently, there was a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed more than 50 people. It’s a dark time for everyone — directly affected or not.
Lewis said what happened in Houston did not serve as extra motivation during his UFC 216 training camp. In fact, it was the opposite. Lewis admitted that his head isn’t all there going into the Werdum fight.
“Not at all,” he said. “It was really emotional. It was really taxing on your body and your mind. It’s kind of hard to think about fighting whenever there’s people that lost everything. I’m out here trying to fight somebody that didn’t even do anything to me for some money. There’s people out there that lost their job and all of that. It’s just kind of hard.
“In my head — I’m not gonna lie to you — I’m not focused.”
Lewis, who expected UFC 216 to be cancelled because of the Sunday Las Vegas shooting, said he only considered pulling out of the Werdum fight “for a few seconds,” but besides that, he always planned on fighting Saturday.
“I was like, ‘Nah, I’d never do that,’” he said.
Ultimately, Lewis doesn’t think anything that has happened will affect his performance in the Octagon.
“I’m not worrying about that at all,” he said. “I’m gonna go out there and still fight as hard as I can, as long as my body is feeling good. My mind eventually will come around if I get punched in the face. Then it’ll come around for sure. But right now, I’m not really worried about fighting.”
Lewis fights Werdum on the UFC 216 main card. The event takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.