For the UFC and many of its fighters, it seems as though the COVID-19 pandemic is a financial crisis first and foremost. Dana White is looking for any and every way to keep events going during government restrictions on travel and social events. And fighters have routinely been taking to social media questioning the need for the kind of massive response and business shutdown that has been ongoing around the world.
A few fighters, however, have come across with some necessary caution and reason during this time. Fighters like Michael Bisping and Conor McGregor have been public voices in the support of self quarantine and asking governments to do more to help protect their citizens. And while UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis would like to be fighting again by June, he sounds like he’s ready to sit out as long as it takes for proper safety measures to be put in place.
“Of course I want to get through this safely,” Lewis said in a recent interview with MMA Junkie. “I can’t be selfish and stuff like that and go out there and get myself sick and all my family, and bringing back whatever I got and give it to my kids and stuff like that, and my loved ones. So I’ve got to be not selfish enough and just wait and see what the president has to say about everything and just look up to the leaders and just see what they have to say.”
Just recently President Donald Trump had said he wanted to have ‘the country opened up’ by Easter Sunday. Just under two weeks from now. However, he’s since backed off that line of thinking, and extended national social distancing guidelines until at least the end of April. If the administration takes heed of most expert advice and analysis surrounding the pandemic in the coming weeks, those guidelines will likely last a lot longer than that.
Just how long that means fighters like Lewis will have to wait until they can get back in the cage remains to be seen. Could Lewis still even be able to fight in June? Maybe. But for now, fighters would likely be best served to follow his lead and think of the health of their friends and family first and foremost.