COVID-19 has killed more than 500,000 people in the United States alone and about two million others worldwide since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. While data shows that the survival rate of coronavirus is high, the fact remains that it simply affects people differently.
Case in point, there have been several fighters on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster (see the entire list here) who have contracted the virus and been forced out of action. The majority of them, however, were able to be rescheduled within a few weeks or months.
Some, though, have been unable to shake the lingering effects of the deadly virus, like Khamzat Chimaev, who has had to bow out of his scheduled fight against Leon Edwards on two occasions since coming down with it in Nov. 2020.
Kevin Holland, on the other hand, was able to be compete just seven days after he was bounced out of a scheduled fight after testing positive himself. That’s why “Trail Blazer” had no issues calling out “Borz,” saying that the up-and-coming Welterweight and Middleweight contender should just “get over” his health issues.
“You sit up here and say it’s sad because he has COVID and s—t like that, but they said I had COVID and we’re supposed to be athletes, and it’s like, get the f—k over it,” Holland said in an interview on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast (via MMA Fighting).
If it were only that simple.
When broached about the possibility that Chimaev’s case has been more severe than Holland’s, the man affectionately known as “Big Mouth” by Dana White had a rather unique response.
“My girl had it pretty good and I was f—king her the whole time,” he said. “So it’s like we all take it different. Different fighters, different heart. Don’t claim to have that heart if you ain’t got it.”
Holland has called for a fight against Chimaev in the past, but it never came to fruition. “Trail Blazer” stands firm in his stance that at the end of the day, Chimaev “isn’t about that life” because he’s avoided any face-to-face confrontations with him when their paths gave crossed.
Holland went on to say that he won’t take anything away from what “Borz” has done so far inside the Octagon — scoring three dominant stoppage victories — but feels a lot of his success has to do with careful selection of opponents.
“He’s bouncing back-and-forth to the fights that make the most sense,” Holland said. “So he’ll go to ‘70 for a fight that makes sense, he’ll come back up to ‘85 for a fight that makes sense. Nothing wrong with it, good management. Fighters who fight like that, very smart fighters, I tip my hat off to them, them and their management and their coaches, that’s great. That’s not me, I’ll never be that, so props to those guys.
“Smart, smart fighter,” he added. “Props to him. But, what happens when you can’t go out there and take an easy, smart route. What happens when a fighter’s really f—king good? That’s why I wanted to see the Leon fight. I want to see tough competition.”
For now, a fight between the two rising stars isn’t in the cards because Chimaev will be out until summer time to get his health right, while Holland is in line to face Derek Brunson at the upcoming a UFC on ESPN 21 on March 20, 2021 (details).