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Michelle Waterson ‘just happy’ to be fighting, not interested in extra compensation from UFC

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The ‘Karate Hottie’ was hoping her next bout would be on the UFC’s ‘Fight Island,’ and seems more grateful than anything that the promotion is still putting on events.

When the UFC restarts their 2020 event schedule in Jacksonville, FL next week Michelle Waterson will be there. The ‘Karate Hottie’ has a bout booked against former champion Carla Esparza on the ESPN prelim portion of the fight card. In a state set on easing quarantine restrictions and getting back to some form of ‘business as usual,’ it seems almost certain at this point that the event will go ahead as planned.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be as safe as can be, however. The UFC is very much leading the charge to get back to putting on live sports-entertainment, alongside the WWE. A course that epidemiologist Zachary Binney recently cautioned against in an interview with Bloody Elbow.

Waterson spoke to MMA Fighting about the UFC’s drive to keep going, as well as her upcoming fight. She also spoke about the potential for some kind of ‘hazard pay,’ and why it’s not something she sounds particularly interested in.

“We really haven’t asked that,” Waterson said when questioned about “hazard pay.” “I’m just honestly very grateful and appreciative that I still have the ability to fight and do what I love to do and make an income doing that. There are a lot of people out there that aren’t as fortunate, and I’m just happy about [being able to fight].

“You’ve just got to figure it out. We haven’t asked about any compensation or anything, I really am just grateful that I’m being put on this card. Who knows if the landscape of any type of sports arena is going to change after this, so I’m just soaking it in and taking advantage of the opportunity as it comes.”

Waterson also revealed that, as the UFC started cancelling events, she made a point to keep her head down and stay in training; to stay ready for the first opportunity to get back in the cage. In fact, she’d been hoping that her fight would get moved to the UFC’s mysterious ‘Fight Island,’ just so she’d have the chance to say she’d been a part of it.

“I definitely was hoping that we would be fighting on Fight Island,” Waterson said. “I just think it would be an experience and something we could look back on and really enjoy talking about. It hasn’t happened, like I said I can only do what’s in my control. We’re fighting in Florida, I’m excited to go out there again, and who knows what the future holds?”

For many fighters – who have been vocal about their desire to return to work, to end quarantine measures, or who have just been trying to find some way to stay in shape without training partners – it seems fairly likely that Waterson’s attitude is in line with theirs. Whether or not the UFC can safely return to putting on events remains to be seen. But as they do, it appears that they won’t lack fighters who ready to compete on their cards.