If Randy Costa has to wait six more months to step back into the Octagon, that’s fine with him.
Costa was scheduled to face Martin Day at the postponed March 28 event in Columbus, Ohio. The 25-year-old Massachusetts native was looking to build upon his first UFC win, a first-round TKO finish of Contender Series alum Boston Salmon in October in front of a hometown crowd in Boston.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC has made the decision to postpone events indefinitely, beginning with UFC 249 April 18. According to Dana White, the plan was to host weekly events for two months at a location yet to be officially confirmed by the promotion — although reports suggested they will take place on tribal land at Tachi Palace Resort Casino in California.
While the majority of fighters who were booked on the previously postponed London, Columbus and Portland, along with the newer postponed events, the majority of fighters on the roster are looking to be slotted in for an upcoming card despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Costa is choosing to take the advice of medical professionals around the world.
“No interest at all,” Costa told MMA Fighting in regards to taking a fight during the pandemic. “There’s a reason why the country is shut down right now. The risk isn’t worth the reward in my opinion.”
Following the postponement of UFC 249, White plans to try to get events going on “Fight Island” — a private island somewhere in the world that was originally slated to host International fighters only.
There are a lot of factors in play when it comes to Costa’s decision to not take a fight. Not only does he feel he wouldn’t be able to maximize his preparation, but, more importantly, he doesn’t want to be the reason anyone close to him becomes infected by the virus that has put the world in a standstill.
“I can’t even have a real training camp, so I would be going into the fight handicapped,” Costa said. “To fight, it would be selfish and irresponsible of me. I would hate to be the reason that my family got infected.”
The Taunton, Mass., native entered the UFC after picking up finishes in his first four professional fights under the Cage Titans banner. Costa made his Octagon debut on less than a month’s notice and went toe-to-toe with Brandon Davis at UFC 236 in April 2019. Davis submitted the Lauzon MMA product in the second round, but Costa opened up a lot of eyes despite the defeat.
Costa certainly understands and respects why his colleagues would jump into the Octagon while the world is in a state of uncertainty. He is fortunate to be in a position to wait things out, even if it means sitting for nearly a year between fights.
“I have no interest in competing until things are back to normal-ish,” Costa stated. “If that means I have to wait until the fall, then so be it.
“If I were in a bad financial spot, my answer may be different. Thankfully, that’s not the case.”
On Monday, the Association of Ringside Physicians issued a statement recommending that all combat sports events be indefinitely suspended, “regardless of the number of people involved.” White has continued to state that the promotion will “go above and beyond” to make sure that all involved in these events are healthy and safe.
In a recent interview with ESPN, White stated that being a part of UFC 249, or subsequent fight cards will be safer “than actually being at home or going to the grocery store.”
While he has faith that White will do everything in his power to keep that promise, Costa isn’t willing to take that chance.
“It’s not worth it, in my opinion,” Costa explained. “If the country weren’t literally locked down then it’d be different. But that’s not the case. It isn’t locked down for no reason; it’s obviously a massive hazard.
“I won’t be fighting until this sh*t settles down and gets under control, that’s for sure.”
Despite not competing in any events until the pandemic is a thing of the past, Costa—like most of us—will be taking in all of the UFC action on the ESPN family of networks once they get started back up.
“Make no mistake, I’ll be watching.”