UFC fighters from around the world weigh in on the UFC’s forced cancellation of upcoming events in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The global landscape continues to shift as world powers work to slow the spread of COVID-19, affecting the daily lives of people worldwide. UFC has cancelled its next three Fight Night events in response. Bloody Elbow reached out to UFC fighters past and present, including those directly affected by the cancellations, to get their thoughts on the situation.
Colby Covington: It sucks! I was ready to save sports and the world this weekend. It’s dark days but we need light and I believe me and the UFC could of provided that. I understand basketball shutting down because crybabies like Lebron who flop for fouls and sit out when their toe hurts, but in UFC we take risks and fight in a cage for a living to entertain people around the world.
Diego Sanchez: It’s a very sad thing, a lot of humans have died and many more will die. This epidemic is effecting the world’s economies in many interesting ways. Some businesses [are] being liquidated with others like the toilet paper, Lysol, bullets, gloves, lunch meat, water and face masks flourishing like never before. All we know is that everything we are told is not everything! So all we can do is keep faith and hope in our world’s leaders and go through the process. There is a need to come together as a planet for the first time! Let’s also bring some light on the homeless of America and the world for I feel these people will be hit hard with very little support to survive. #wereone
Felicia Spencer: I understand the decision to cancel events. I hope that fighters are compensated in some small way even if not getting their entire purse or show money. For me, my fight is scheduled for May 9th, so I just have to continue training and living like that is happening. I just hope if there are changes we know soon, but it seems like we have to take this day by day.
Jan Blachowicz: When I found out that UFC is coming back to London I was pushing [matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] to set me on this card. Finally, they set the date for February. I feel blessed and so lucky that I had a chance to finish the camp, have a great fight, earn money. I’m keeping [my] fingers crossed and wish all best and a lot [of] patience for all fighters and all organizations. It’s [such a] hard time for all human beings, for the business and I have a hope for a quick and safe better tomorrow.
Sam Alvey: The cancellations are a true hardship for us fighters, but I have the utmost faith that the UFC is going to be doing everything in their power help us however they can. It’s hard on us but the UFC must be dealing with even more losses and struggles. The UFC has always had my back and I’ll have theirs too.
Cody Stamann: It’s really sad. I know the UFC and everyone did everything in their power to make the fights happen but this is bigger than fighting right now and as much as I’d love to compete, a few weeks won’t change that. I look forward to getting in the cage at a later date.
Eryk Anders: It is what it is
Roxanne Modafferi: I’m hesitant to make a judgement on people’s decisions to cancel events or close down locations because I’m not a scientist or doctor. At first I felt like this was being blown out of proportion, but now I’m not so sure. I feel uneducated and uncertain. I just hope people can be civil during this time, and I hope not too many businesses go under as a result. I’m glad I’m not one of those fighters who had their fights canceled. I hope things can get back to normal soon.
Chris Leben: You know since I’m not an expert I don’t know if our country is overreacting or under-reacting. I do think it’s crazy that the U.K. event is still going to have people everywhere else in the world it’s not if that still the case I don’t keep up our needs as much as I should.
Jon Fitch: It’s good that the UFC finally decided to follow what the real professional sports are doing. The virus might not be that big of a danger to the athletes but the conditions that have been created by people panicking are to big a risk for the athletes to be forced to take. When your livelihood is directly linked to weather you fight or not you will take un-needed risk in order to survive.
Jimmie Rivera: It’s the best and safest thing going on. The UFC made the right decision. It sucks for us fighters but safety is first. Hopefully this pandemic doesn’t last too long and we can get back to our normal routine.
Andrea Lee: I think that it’s necessary with everything that’s going on and it makes sense. I believe the UFC is doing the right thing.
Volkan Oezdemir: I am favorable with the fact that the event keep on going. But I think we still have to restrict travelling. So if the European staff can take care of the European event with European fighters and same with American and Brasília then it’s fine. We are strong individuals but we also have a weaker immune system coming fight week. Anyway it’s all about being a carrier for somebody that is not strong enough to fight the virus. So the situation is understandable. But I am for the continuity of the events.
Nathaniel Wood: It’s heartbreaking what’s going on in the world, I know the situation is bigger than sports right now but to see fighters who have put there everything into their camps to see the cards being cancelled is devastating, I just hope everyone stays safe and together we can push through this.
Davey Grant: Yeah, it’s a real shame the fights got cancelled but I think Dana and the UFC tried their best to keep them on and I know all the fighters would of appreciated that as we all need and want to fight as often as possible. I think the thing that scared people most was definitely not the risk of infection but the risk of getting stranded in a different country due to flight and travel bans.
Patrick Cote: I feel the pain of the fighters who can’t compete and can’t get paid because of the event cancellation. But at the end of the day, that was the right decision. This is not a sport problem, a fighting problem. It’s a world problem and everybody needs to do the right thing to beat this virus. We’re all one!
Shane Burgos: They had no other choice really... We know if the fights could have happened Dana would have made them happen. I feel for those fighters who were all booked, if we don’t fight we don’t get paid. Hopefully this doesn’t delay our abilities to provide for our families much longer. I just hope this all blows over quick so we can get back to our normal lives.
Drew Dober: It’s tough for fighters and the UFC. However this situation is tough on everybody. Some necessary precautions so we can enjoy a summer of intense fights.
Drakkar Klose: This sucks because I know most fighters like myself are living paycheck to paycheck. No fight means how do we pay the bills, how do we feed are children?
Emily Whitmire: Holy s—t that’s insane. But also what best for the fighters and UFC staff. It’s just too dangerous travelling.
Scott Holtzman: I’m not scared of the virus but I’m trying to do my part in the quarantine so hopefully none of my loved ones or anyone else who might not have as good of a chance to fight it off might get it. These times are unprecedented and we are all still trying to figure out how to act. I know things will get better though. I need to get back to work.
Alex Perez: It sucks for the fighters but it’s understandable why they canceled the shows.
Kajan Johnson: I think it’s imperative that they cancel events. We need to all band together right now and do what needs to be done for the good of all. All businesses are taking a big hit, ours included, but it is necessary.
Zak Ottow: With as much as the UFC is a global organization with fighters and fans from around the world coming to events, I think it is smart move on their part to suspend events to help do their part in preventing this thing from getting worse.
Patrick Cummins: Putting the fighters and UFC staff at risk was very irresponsible, yet not surprising. Every other major sporting event was cancelled for obvious reasons. The almighty dollar is, and always has been, the most important thing to the UFC.
Khama Worthy: MMA God’s please help us!
— With files from Scott Lagdon and Shakiel Mahjouri. Some statements have been tweaked for clarity.