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Alistair Overeem ‘probably’ contracted coronavirus because Thailand was ‘flooded with Chinese’

UFC 209: Overeem v Hunt Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem is expected to fight fellow 265-pound slugger Walt Harris at one of the upcoming mixed martial arts (MMA) events on “Fight Island,” once the promotion works out the remaining logistics.

With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down most of the planet and bringing the world of professional sports to a standstill, UFC was forced to take alternative measures to keep the assembly line moving, though Overeem doesn’t believe that puts him at risk.

“As an athlete, I’ve been always very obsessed with health and the immune system,” Overeem told Duello Sports (transcribed by Nolan King). “That’s why I’m not really afraid of the virus. I’ve probably already had it. I was in Thailand during Chinese New Year. It was flooded with the Chinese and some people who were close to me had symptoms. That’s what it’s like now in the whole coronavirus discussion.”

Overeem and Harris were originally booked to compete in the UFC Fight Night 172 main event back on April 11 inside Moda Center in Portland, Oregon; however, promotion president Dana White rescheduled their titanic tilt for a later date (more on that postponement here).

“I think with the virus, you’ll see the numbers go down,” Overeem continued. “This will be not a couple of weeks. Maybe, four weeks. Maybe, six at the most. Then, it will start back up again. I think slowly. I think not immediately it’ll (get back) to the same as always. It has to start up. I think when it starts up, the UFC will be the first to hold an event. I expect to fight there.”

White’s “Fight Island” is expected to be ready in mid-May.

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