Lyman Good is the first active UFC fighter to publicly announce that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The former Bellator champion who trains with Tiger Shulmann’s MMA, in New York was scheduled to fight at UFC 249 in Brooklyn against fellow welterweight Belal Muhammad.
Good (21-5-1) pulled out of the fight two weeks before it was due to take place citing an injury as the primary reason. But has now revealed to ESPN, that he had actually “tested positive for COVID-19”
“Although I said it was due to an injury, it was actually because I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Good said.
“As soon as I found out, I let everybody know. It was one of those things where it wasn’t sinking in that it could’ve been that. As fighters, we’re hardwired to train through everything. If we catch a cold or little nagging injury here or there, we’re trained to just pretty much fight through it. At first I thought it was that. But there was just one day where it was bad. My body wasn’t listening, it wasn’t responding the way it normally does to sparring.
“The major contributing factor to my decision (to get tested) was the safety of the people around me,” Good said. “When maybe I thought there was a possibility that I have it, I figured let me just make sure that I have it or not. Also for the safety for my coaches – you know, my coach was showing up every morning to my training sessions – my teammates, my family, and everybody else. Really, what I held into account was the safety of others.”
Good’s teammates, including UFC Fighter Shane Burgos, tested negative after hearing of their training partners results.
“My real concern was really just my teammates, my coaches and anyone I was exposed to,” Good continued. “God forbid they get it, they spread it, and someone else gets sick really bad. I would feel responsible.”
With social distancing rules being enforced throughout the country, it can be exceedingly difficult for an active fighter to prepare properly and safely for an upcoming bout. Good revealed that it was a risk he was “willing to take”.
“We didn’t wanna feed into the fear, the imminent fear that’s going on in society right now. There’s a pandemic, it is a real thing happening, but I didn’t wanna stoke the flames, so to speak, and influence the fear factor of other people,” Good said.
“I just want to let everyone know I’m much better now. At the end of the day, it was a risk that we were willing to take. As a fighter, I knew what the risks were. Unfortunately it is what it is. It happened.”
New York is one of the worst-hit states, with just over 18,000 deaths from the 42,000 in the entirety of the USA coming from the Big Apple. Good wants to use his situation to help others and has told ESPN, that he is donating his antibodies to the Red Cross intending to help anybody else suffering from the virus.
The UFC has cancelled a total of six events so far due to the coronavirus but aims to get up and running again on May 9th, with UFC 249 at an undisclosed location.