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James Krause sees both sides of UFC 249 debate: ‘No matter what, somebody’s gonna get pissed off’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

James Krause has multiple perspectives in regards to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The UFC welterweight is, of course, a professional fighter, along with being a coach, business owner, husband and father.

As Dana White and the UFC are moving forward with UFC 249 on April 18, there’s no real gray area in regards to people’s reactions to that decision. Krause sympathizes with both sides, yet understands there will be backlash no matter what side of the fence you stand on.

“I feel like there’s no right way to answer this question,” Krause told MMA Fighting. “No matter what, somebody’s gonna get pissed off at the answer. There’s obviously two sides to it — and this is a lose-lose question, by the way — there’s Dana’s side, saying everyone is overreacting, this is not as big of a deal as it’s being led on to believe. If you look at the numbers, there’s some argument behind that.

“There’s the other side to where everyone’s quarantined and they’re trying to stop the spread of this thing — which, personally, I have my own opinion on. Where I live, we’re all quarantined, but the grocery stores are open, the gas stations are open, and it just means everyone’s going to the same place. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole purpose of what we’re doing here? Like, I can’t open my business, but the grocery store can be open and we can all go to that one place? I don’t know.”

In addition to being a fighter in the biggest MMA promotion in the world, Krause is a real estate investor, and quickly becoming one of the top coaches in the sport.

As the owner of Glory MMA and Fitness in Lees Summit, Mo., Krause has been able to use his extra time to take on projects within the gym he may not have had time to do otherwise. While the TUF 25 competitor is always looking for silver linings, the current shelter in place in Jackson County is in effect until April 24, at least.

Krause is certainly understanding in the midst of the ongoing global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean he’s not concerned about the unknowns surrounding it.

“I respect everyone’s opinion,” Krause said. “I don’t really have a good answer. I’m trying to play both sides of the fence on this. I have my own answer, but I respect everyone’s decision because, at the end of the day, if they need to stay inside, or people need to go to work, they have families to feed. They have bills to pay and nobody’s helping them.

“I have multiple businesses on the line and if I can’t get those businesses open, how am I gonna put food on the table? That’s where, for me, it gets a little crazy. There’s so many layers to this and it’s hard to answer that without having a two hour conversation about it.

“I understand where the medical professionals are coming from. This is something we have to take very seriously, but also, I need to take feeding my family very seriously, too. We’re good right now, but how long is that going to last? We don’t know, and that’s scary because we don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

Krause picked up his sixth consecutive win in November with a third-round knockout of Sergio Moraes at UFC Sao Paulo. While he put together one of the the welterweight division’s more impressive win streaks, Krause was somewhat flying under the radar despite having nearly 40 professional fights.

In February, Antonio Arroyo fell ill following the official weigh-ins for UFC 247 and was forced out of his scheduled middleweight fight with Trevin Giles. On a day’s notice, Krause — who was in Houston to corner teammate and Octagon debutante Youssef Zalalstepped in, up a weight class, and lost a very close split decision to Giles.

UFC 249 is scheduled to take place April 18, with a new interim lightweight title headliner between ex-interim champ Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. A location for the event has yet to be officially announced, but Krause has already let the promotion know he’s willing to step up once again during an interesting time in the sport.

“They didn’t have to approach me,” Krause explained. “I threw my name in the hat before [they could even ask me]. I’m the guy. I’m a guy of opportunity.

“I feel like you’re going to see over a three- to six-month period, you’re gonna see a lot of fights being won that you didn’t think the opponent would win, and you’ll see a lot of guys ramping up, quick. There’s gonna be a ton of opportunities for a fighter whenever this whole thing is done.

“Guys aren’t training, everyone’s taking time off, everybody’s trying to get paid because nobody’s making any money right now. So there’s going to be a ton of guys who take fights when they shouldn’t, and there’s going to be a ton of guys that are ready to take that opportunity whenever this thing ends.”

From the husband and father’s side, Krause says there hasn’t been any push back from his family on competing at UFC 249. Based on history, they trust him completely.

“My family is a little more on the less aggressive side of this whole ordeal,” Krause said. “They’re 100-percent with me fighting, plus, my family kind of follows me blindly. I haven’t lead them astray so far.

“But they’re all supportive. Anything that I want to do, they’re down with.”

There’s still a lot that of uncertainty surrounding UFC 249. But if Krause were a betting man, he would put his money on MMA fans watching a fight card April 18. While he’s always ready to compete should his name be called, he believes he’ll to be smart in terms of what other name will be on the bout agreement.

“From what [my manager] is telling me, it’s a real thing and to be ready,” Krause said. “It has to make sense for me, though.

“I’ll fight anybody, I think I’ve shown that. But I’m not in fight shape and because I’m coming off the situation I was in for my last fight, I don’t have a lot of room for error. Even if you lose two split decisions in a row, you’re still losing. The game is to win, so I have to be very careful who I fight on short notice.

“When you look at it, the UFC is already over roster. They’re looking for any reason to cut people and I don’t want to be on that list.”

The stock of Krause has risen to new heights since his memorable short notice step in at UFC 247. As long as the matchup makes sense, if Krause is offered a fight today, tomorrow, or the night before UFC 249, expect the man who sports many hats to don a pair of four-ounce gloves as well.

“There’s zero [deadline],” Krause said. “I’m the guy. Let’s go!”

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