Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
With the entire globe in hysteria over the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the measures being taken in an attempt to control or limit the spread of the virus, there is no doubt this worldwide pandemic will affect everyone's day to day life before all is said and done. With the public searching for answers that bring us toward a solution to this crisis, the image of the free world becomes muddier and muddier by the day. Perhaps the biggest effect such a pandemic has on society is fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the “what ifs?” the fear of whether our lives will ever truly return to “normal?” As schools send their students home, businesses shut their doors, and the world takes a step back from the hustle of day to day life, we may feel selfish discussing how this virus will affect us personally, but at the end of the day we are all human and enjoy our own struggles; struggles that some may never understand. With that said here is a little bit deeper look into the impact this pandemic is having on New England MMA.
This St. Patrick’s Day weekend had been circled on the calendars of many New England MMA fans for some time, with many of the region’s biggest stars including Nate “The Snake” Andrews (16-3), “Notorious” Nick Newell (16-3), Justin “The Fort” Sumter (7-3) and Jessy “The Widowmaker” Miele (9-3) all scheduled to fight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut for Bellator 241. As of Thursday (March 12th) the show was still a “Go” as fighters from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Romania, Russia, The United Kingdom and the United States would all take to the scales in anticipation of going to war the following night at Bellator 241. As we know, however, Friday, March 13th was a trying day for many, as most major sporting events across the globe shut their doors and President Donald Trump declared the country in a State of Emergency” forcing the hand of Bellator President/CEO Scott Coker to pull the plug on Bellator 241 all due to the Corona Pandemic.
Saturday March 14th was scheduled to be yet another “Fight Day” here in New England; as many of our local fighters were set to test their skills on the regional level at AMMO Fight League 8: Battle of St. Patricks in Springfield, Massachuestts. However with crisis looming and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker imposing a ban on gatherings of over 250 people, AMMO Fight League had no choice but to postpone it’s event as well. With action being taken and one of the busiest months in recent memory for New England MMA just ahead, with five fight cards set to take place regionally in April, many of us are left scratching our heads as to where our sport goes from here and what lasting effects this virus could have on our sport going forward.
Jay “The Joker” Perrin (9-3) was one of the first regional fighters to speak to the media about the prospect of his fight at Cage Titans 48 April being compromised by the Coronavirus when he spoke to Steve Domenico, Friday, on The Room Podcast. Perrin was scheduled to defend his Cage Titans Bantamweight Title at Cage Titans 48 against Bendy Casimir (22-15-2) on April 4th, a bout and fight card that has now been postponed within the last 24 hours. Although Cage Titans had been holding on to hope that its events, both at Cage Titans 48 as well as Cage Titans Combat Night 3 (scheduled for Friday, April 3rd), would continue without interruption, Perrin expressed some other worries. “ Gyms are closing down,” said Perrin, “This is a big thing for people fighting both locally and internationally….for me personally I’m worried about my event.” And rightfully so; with a dominant performance against Casimir, Perrin could very well be looking at a call from the UFC, as Perrin goes on to describe how the measures taken due to the Coronavirus could affect his career and his livelihood.
Perrin went on to voice his displeasure with the current state of affairs Saturday morning, on his personal Facebook when Perrin posted; “Hard to train for a fight when every cough and sniffle gets you removed from a group...Unreal.” Opening up an entirely new set of circumstances; these fighters must still prepare as if the show will go on, even if their event