Sijara Eubanks spent the final few hours of pre-shutdown life in a very unique manner: She raced to get her pre-fight medicals complete.
“I usually don’t do any of my medicals until like a week out, and with everything going on and rumors that this fight is going to be out of the country, maybe, I was like, ‘Come on, let’s get these medicals out of the way,’” Eubanks said with a laugh.
Eubanks (4-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is currently scheduled to face fellow women’s bantamweight Sarah Moras (6-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at next month’s UFC 249 event. Of course, that card was originally expected to take place in New York, but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc across the globe, UFC officials have been forced to find a new location for the card.
UFC president Dana White has insisted the event, with its Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson headliner, will carry on as scheduled on April 18, and Eubanks says she’s conducting herself under that assumption.
“Honestly, it’s been a little bit of motivation, everything shutting down, and just to know that UFC and Dana White and Khabib are still trying to make this fight happen is keeping me motivated,” Eubanks said. “Fighters are used to things not going their way, I think. That’s part of the game, to sort of roll with the punches, so I think I’m a little equipped – we’re all kind of a little equipped – for things not to go exactly as planned, so there’s nothing else to do but train as often as possible and keep waiting and see and hear where we’re going to be at.”
Eubanks bases her camp out of New Jersey’s Nick Catone MMA and preps under the watchful eye of Mark Henry. It’s a gym full of talented training partners, but the current recommendation of social distancing, not to mention a government mandated curfew, has made normal training procedures obsolete.
Eubanks remains undaunted.
“We just started to put together some private sessions and keep training with as few people as possible,” Eubanks said. “We’re back on track, still getting my twice a days. We can’t cut back at all. We’ve got to keep going.”
Eubanks says she’s giving COVID-19 the respect it deserves, even if she refuses to wear a mask, much to her mother’s chagrin. She doesn’t yet know where the fight will take place, though persistent rumors suggest the Middle East could play host.
To Eubanks, it doesn’t matter.
Pre-fight medicals have been done early. She’s keeping her weight lower than normal in case she needs to fly halfway around the globe. All the variables are being addressed. As far as Eubanks, is concerned, to borrow a phrase from Nurmagomedov, himself, just send location.
“I’ve got my passport ready,” Eubanks said. “I don’t care where it is. I don’t care if I can bring one guy, eight guys, I don’t care. I’m down. I think this is an opportunity to fight. The rest of the world is shut down. There’s no live sports happening. There’s nothing really going on. Everybody’s quarantined. It’s a time of international crises. Why not? I’m honored just to be basically on the card.
“I’m confident this fight is going to happen. I think all of the fighters on the card are pushing for it to happen. I think it’s going to happen no matter where it goes down, and once it does go down, it’s going to be epic because we’re going to be the only people in the whole entire world allowed to compete. Like, what the hell? That’s exciting.
“I don’t give a damn where it’s at. You can put us in Antartica. I don’t want to miss this for nothing.”
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/03/sijara-eubanks-confident-ufc-249-carries-on-as-scheduled/