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‘My body was very debilitated’ - Botelho out of UFC 270 due to bad case of COVID-19

Flyweight Poliana Botelho details her difficult case of COVID-19.

Poliana Botelho lost to Luana Carolina in her last outing.
Poliana Botelho lost to Luana Carolina in her last outing.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Flyweight Poliana Botelho was forced out of her bout against Ji Yeon Kim due to a rough case of COVID-19. Originally expected to perform at the UFC 270 card on February 26, the 33-year-old described her symptoms on a live stream that Combate transcribed.

During her talk with fans, Botelho listed some of the symptoms she went through during her battle against the virus. Despite wanting to stay in the bout against Kim, she was advised by her personal doctor not to do so.

“I had diarrhea, lots of headaches, a runny nose, fever, weak legs, coughs. I think I had all the COVID-19 symptoms. My body was very debilitated. I stayed home to try to recover as soon as possible, but I had to diet in the meantime, lose weight. I was already down to the weight that I wanted to travel at, but I still had 7 kilos to go in that last week. So I had to lose weight while down with COVID and heal my body at the same time. My body needed more food to feel better and I couldn’t eat because of the weight cut. The psychological pressure of having to fight started to grow, too.”

“We tried our best to stay in the fight until I got better, now that COVID does not last as long, but that was not my case.” Botelho said. “Mine was serious. I felt everything hard. I had to go to my cardiologist and she told me not to fight under those condititions, because it could really affect my health. So we chose health. It’s a new virus, we don’t know much about it, what it can do to you long term. She said there was no way I could have a high-performance fight.”

Despite the difficult case, Poliana clarified that she has taken two shots of the Pfizer vaccine and plans to return sooner rather than later. However, Botelho points out her return will depend on the results of her next medical exams.

“I’m not feeling the symptoms anymore, but I still feel weak. I took a walk today and when I came back, my legs felt weak. I lost a lot of muscle mass, I was sitting still for too long. I won’t train this week. Next week I’ll take a bunch of tests to see how and when I’ll return.”

“I don’t think COVID-19 is a joke.” Botelho said. “Be careful, see the best way to be careful and not catch it. A lot of people catch it and feel nothing, or almost nothing. I’ve been an athlete since I was a kid, I don’t like to drink, I don’t smoke, I eat really healthy and it still got me down bad. We don’t know how each person will react to the virus. It’s no joke, you can’t be like ‘I won’t get it’, ‘I’m strong’. It’s catching everybody.”

In her last outing, Botelho (8-4) dropped a split decision to Luana Carolina, extending her current skid to two straight, with a unanimous decision loss to Gillian Robertson before that. The 33-year-old’s last victory happened in April 2019, when she scored a unanimous decision win over Lauren Mueller.