Hernandez was schedule to compete on both iterations of the event – first against Islam Makhachev in Brooklyn N.Y., and then against short notice replacement Omar Morales at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. Eventually, the date was scratched altogether due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
After the rollercoaster ride to get to April 18 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “The Great” made the decision to not compete on the event’s new date of May 9, which is expected to take place somewhere in Florida.
Within the past week, the UFC held several fighters only conference calls to try to bring clarity on how the promotion plans to move forward. Several talking points about the call were revealed to MMA Fighting through people with knowledge of the meeting.
While appearing on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck, Hernandez was asked about the call and if he felt there is now more clarity in regards to getting the promotion off and running once again.
“I’m curious about a paycheck – that’s the only thing on my mind,” Hernandez said. “I spent a lot of money in preparation for (April 18) because we got up to the week right before and it’s costly. It’s costly on your body, and then you have to pay your coaches, plus convincing and coercing those guys to put on during a pandemic might be a little extra.
“That’s the only thing I’m curious about. Anything else, to me, is as gray as it was when the fight got cancelled. I don’t think they’ve done a great job bringing any clarity, but also, that’s just the world we’re in right now. There’s not a lot of clarity.”
When the no. 15 ranked Hernandez was asked about how confident he is that he will be paid for his efforts to get to the April 18 event, which included getting sick after his head coach tested positive for the coronavirus, he said he expects the UFC will make it happen.
“Yes I (I’m confident),” the 27-year-old fighter said. “It was declared (we would be compensated) so I do expect them to come through.”
After making the decision to not compete May 9, Hernandez is still in the gym preparing to return as soon as possible. The San Antonio, Texas, native wants to make sure the organization will be able to pull off the new UFC 249 event. Once that happens, he will be willing to put pen to paper for rumored events on May 16 or 23.
As far as whom he’d like to share the Octagon with, Hernandez is open to pretty much anything.
“At this point, it’s just who’s on soil and who’s prepared,” he said. “Those are the only credentials we can run by. I need action. Victories will further propel my career and just W’s in the UFC. I didn’t get this long road up. I didn’t get to tailor make anything or create this long highlight reel off of nobodies so I was just prepared to do that on somebodies.
“So when pandemic strikes and we need somebody to get knocked out, I’ll knock that guy out, whoever it is. I will indiscriminately do that.”