UFC president Dana White famously said, “every day when I wake up in the morning, the only thing I am sure of is that bad s*** is going to happen.” One day he woke up and there was a global COVID-19 global epidemic. Now he wakes up every day to truly bad s***, and remains determined to continue holding shows. And White has said any fighter that doesn't want to compete will have that desire honored.
During a recent interview with Nolan King for MMA Junkie, UFC bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling firmly put himself in the camp unwilling to fight at a time when 90% of America is supposed to be sheltered in place.
“If I was told I’d have to fight this month, it’d absolutely not happen – absolutely not happen,” said Sterling. “My gym is a very small gym. I don’t have training partners. … There’s no real adequate training to get to a fight the right way or on top of that, maintaining your proper nutrition so you can lose weight. I’m walking around this morning at 164. Early this week, I was 168. I’m trying to get my weight back down to stabilize around 160 again.”
“I love how these other guys are being these yes men and trying to sound all cool,. Anyone can say, ‘Yeah, I’ll just take the fight.’ But are you doing yourself the best possible favor by just taking a fight? Absolutely not. If you’re going to just say, ‘I’m going to take a fight,’ because you think it’s going to put you in the good graces of the UFC brass, I think you’re really diluted in the head.
“You need to reevaluate the lessons we’ve seen from previous fighters from different eras of the game. I like to think it’s nice to learn from your forefathers instead of making the same mistakes that they made thinking the UFC owes them anything. They don’t owe anybody jack s***.”
“I’m worried about my health. I’m worried about my close family and friends’ health. I think those guys all come first. At the end of the day, money ain’t going to bring somebody back from the grave. If that’s your end-all be-all, then more power to you. Everyone has their own perspective, wishes, and things they want to accomplish. If they think fighting in a time like this is going to be beneficial to them, more power to you. Again, I think it’s ill-advised. You’re putting yourself at risk.
“We’ll see what happens. I’m not worried about anybody jumping this queue because I’m pretty confident in my abilities and my position. One fight changes everything.”