Alexander Volkanovski on what COVID-19 “did to me”

It has been a tough couple of weeks for Australia’s Alex Volkanovski. The UFC featherweight champion had his championship fight against Brian Ortega get postponed, perhaps, more importantly, he contracted COVID-19.

UFC Champion, fit human being

Volkanovski took the opportunity Monday to detail exactly what he went through when he talked to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and he also detailed the events in a video posted to his YouTube channel. The Australian didn’t even realize he was sick when he first found out about his positive test.

Soon he started feeling a few symptoms in his lungs. Eventually, things started getting serious when he found himself coughing up blood.

“I started feeling it in the lungs a bit so my breathing started to get uncomfortable and I started coughing up phlegm, coming up pinky, bloody,” Volkanovski said on his channel. “Like a bit of blood in there, it was coming up pinky. . . So that’s when we thought, ‘Alright, maybe we should start looking into this.’ Obviously, I’m still getting bad fevers and whatnot but that sort of common symptoms.”

This led to the champion taking a trip to the hospital in order to figure out the full extent of his symptoms. Things started getting more serious when they realized his oxygen levels were low.

“We did a scan, and we could see the infection was in the lungs, but it was still a mild case at the time,” Volkanovski told ESPN. “Oxygen levels were good. They said, ‘We need you to keep an eye on your oxygen levels.'”

Volkanovski: “Look at what (COVID-19) did to me”

He was released from the hospital and went back into quarantine. He didn’t want to return to the hospital but his symptoms worsened and he had no other choice.

“That’s when the doctors ended up doing another scan, and that’s when we found out the infection got worse,” Volkanovski said. “It spread through the lungs, and they told me ‘You’re going to have to stay in the hospital for a few days and get on some medication.'”

Many individuals were lucky as they didn’t experience symptoms. Volkanovski had hoped he’d have such luck but unfortunately, even a world-class athlete can have a tough time with the disease.

“I’m a UFC champion, a fit human being … and look what it still did to me,” Volkanovski said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “If I had underlying problems, this could have got really, really serious. It was a bit of a shock to me.”

From freakish to recovery for Alexander Volkanovski

His lungs and oxygen levels weren’t the only things affected. The doctors also noted that his heart rate was a lot lower than normal.

“My heart rate started getting very low,” Volkanovski said. “There was a stage where I started to freak out a little bit because I talked to the doctor the second time I went in there and he said I’d gotten a lot worse. The lung doctor came in and another doctor talked to me and was explaining to me, ‘Look, you’ve got to be on medication but don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We’ll keep monitoring.’ Then I asked him about can it spread anywhere else, maybe the heart and all that because I was noticing my heart rate dropping each day. It just got lower and lower. So they said I would notice because it would hurt and my heart rate would go lower so I had that in my mind, which was freakish for me.”

Luckily, Volkanovski has fully recovered from the disease and he’s happy to report that he’s “symptom-free.” He’s started training a little bit again while also preparing to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter against Ortega.

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