Glover Teixeira was set to headline his first UFC Fight Night card in three years when a global pandemic hit the sports world, forcing the promotion to postpone three events.
As of today, UFC Lincoln is still on for April 25, but uncertainty surrounds the show and all others currently planned.
UFC Lincoln is expected to go down one week after UFC 249, an event Dana White insists will happen. The pay-per-view is headlined by a highly anticipated title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson and could produce a huge windfall for the company. But there’s no clear plan B for the less-stacked Lincoln event.
Teixeira owns a gym in Danbury, Conn., that was forced to close its doors as one of the measures to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s not stopping him from training for a five-round light heavyweight showdown with Anthony Smith in a month, but it’s not going as originally planned.
“I’m training and preparing for a fight like it’s going to happen,” Teixeira told MMA Fighting. “All gyms are closed, but I open the doors of my gym for me, for a private session. There’s no one there except for two friends and I. They are also being very careful, so we do our camp the way we can. We go from home to the gym and back.”
Teixeira will have to adapt even more if the local or national government imposes a full shelter in place lockdown, as several state governments have recently done. But the UFC vet said he has a mini-gym at home with a mat and a structure that would allow him to train for a week or two.
The 40-year-old Brazilian, a former UFC title contender, hopes “the government can beat the coronavirus as soon as possible so people can go back to their normal lives.” He said he’s losing money by closing his gym, and will lose a lot more if his fight gets canceled, but guarantees he’s not going ahead with this fight just for a check.
“The UFC will lose money, everybody will lose money, but in moments like this, money is the least of our concerns,” Teixeira said. “I’m training to fight the No. 3 in the world in a big UFC fight, but if the UFC has to cancel it, I’ll just stay home.”
If safety was guaranteed, Teixeira he said would still want to fight, even if he knew the UFC would only pay him at least a portion of his money in the event of a last-second cancellation. If it’s safe for everybody, Teixeira said he wants the UFC to put on a show.
“I haven’t fought since September, and I really want to fight,” he said. “I’m hoping for the best. It’s an important fight, and I’m focused. I wouldn’t like to see the event getting cancelled, but I know coronavirus is no joke. I’m healthy and strong and I know this virus wouldn’t affect me, but I can carry it and infect others. Whatever [the UFC] decides, it will be the best decision.
“I don’t know if the UFC will do the event behind closed doors, like they did in Brasilia, so there’s no gathering of people and doesn’t affect a lot of people. That might help, too.”