Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal were expected to see each other at UFC 252. However, the current situation with COVID-19 and its effect on the rest of the world has changed everything, except for UFC 249. For some reason, having the event take place on its scheduled date seems to be a priority for the UFC regardless of what’s happening and Usman is willing to change his schedule if there is a way to make it happen for UFC 249.
Well aware of the risks involved, Usman is also aware of what a fighter’s life entails. They fight; they get paid and being the current welterweight champion means changing his schedule can help other fighters booked on a high profile card. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Usman said, “It just wasn’t sitting right with me.” Usman cited the three cards that have been postponed due to the global pandemic as opportunities lost for fighters.
One in particular included Francis Ngannou; Ngannou was scheduled to face Jairzinho Rozenstruik on March 28, at UFC on ESPN 8. Usman said he thought of Ngannou, who he said is “like a brother” to him and the other fighters that had scheduled pay-days lost due to the pandemic and feels he can do something by jumping into an event with Masvidal and provide a pay-day that fighters were counting on.
Usman said he was wondering what he can do to help. The answer would be the only thing he knows how to do, and that’s fight. Usman was looking at the current situation, and remembered what it was like when he was fighting his way up the ranks. He noted that before everything was halted, fighter’s likely lost money preparing for the scheduled fights and were counting on the pay from the events.
Usman recognizes the risks involved, but he said, “I’m willing to do that I’m willing to put my belt up to go in and save the event so every one of these guys can eat.” He added, “Even my opponent I’ll let him make a paycheck on top of it as well.”
Do you think Usman vs. Masvidal will be the new main event for UFC 249?