EXCLUSIVE: Rodtang explains feeling ‘wrong’ before COVID cost him October 15 fight

rodtang jitmuangnon
Credit: ONE Championship

Rodtang Jitmuangnon says feeling something “wrong” in his body led to a hospital visit and his recent COVID-19 positive test.

To the relief of decision-makers in ONE Championship and fans of the powerhouse MMA organization, “The Iron Man’s” special rules fight with UFC flyweight great Demetrious Johnson is still scheduled for December 5. However, after a recent team meeting, as the flyweight Muay Thai champion trained for a planned kickboxing bout against Daniel Puertas on October 15, the division’s top-contender realized something wasn’t right.

Rodtang Jitmuangnon details eventual COVID diagnosis

“I went to have a meeting with my team, we were mingling, and when I came back to my place. About four days later I felt something wrong. Body pain and joint pain, etc. It has [only] been once in a while I feel sick. I even can’t remember when my last sickness was. So I went to a hospital for a COVID-19 test, and I found out it was ‘positive’ and this is the reason I cancelled the fight,” Jitmuangnon told MixedMartialArts.com

Following the news of his positive test, his matchup with Puertas was scrapped so he could recover from the virus and instead focus on his monumental bout with “Mighty Mouse” at ONE: X. As of today, the Thai superstar says he feels “ok” and is almost finished with his quarantine protocols. However, he did admit he was disappointed that his kickboxing bought was cancelled, despite feeling better two weeks before the event.

Rodtang Jitmuangnon
Credit: ONE Championship

“Currently I’m ok,” Jitmuangnon said. “I only need to take medicine for five days, because my status is ‘green.’ Nothing to worry about. Just staying in the place the hospital provided and doing the COVID test daily until this Friday. … I actually didn’t want to cancel the fight but I do understand the regulation, as [I have] COVID, so It’s just like that.”

The “green” status Jitmuangnon is referring to is the colour-coded breakdown health officials have set in Thailand. Broken down by the colors green, yellow, and red. Green is for the lightest case of the virus, and red for the most severe cases.

Rodtang talks financial hardship of lost fight and difficulties in avoiding training during a pandemic

Although he is one of the top stars for the brand, the 24-year-old admits losing the October booking has delivered some financial hardship. After all, he was already paying trainers to ready him for a fight, and he still has a whole family he’s been providing for since he started his professional fighting career at the absurd age of 10-years-old.

“Yes, it affected my finances because I’m taking care all of my family members. What I have to do now is [pull from] my savings to support the whole family,” he says.

Jitmuangnon’s bout with COVID, unfortunately, came soon after his second injection of the vaccine. His positive test cost him two weeks of training, as well as a fight, after making it through two major waves of the virus in his country. With the global pandemic still an ongoing problem at home, he admits that even with strict guidelines from local governments, COVID will remain a problem when training with teammates who could be infected and don’t know it.

“Well in every gym, including my gym there are strict [guidelines], but COVID-19 is in the air, and we won’t know who already has it,” Jitmuangnon says. “There are so many people infected with COVID but don’t know until they do the test.”

Jitmuangnon will compete in the main event of ONE X against ONE flyweight Grand Prix winner Johnson. The event will take place inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Dec. 5. The card will also feature a bantamweight title fight between champion Bibiano Fernandes and John Lineker, as well as a featherweight title clash pitting current champion Thanh Le versus top contender Garry Tonon.

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