As the UFC prepares to host a Pay-Per-View event amidst a global pandemic, at least one of the fighters scheduled to compete on the May 9th show revealed the reasoning for taking such a risk: financial desperation.
One of those fighters is Aleksei Oleinik, who is scheduled to face former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 249. The UFC heavyweight spoke candidly during an Instagram Live interview with MatchTV about his financial situation, revealing that he is already in debt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“In two or three months, I would have become very nervous,” Oleinik told MatchTV. “I don’t have money now. I already borrowed 15-17 thousand dollars. Therefore, if there were no fights, it would be problematic.”
The UFC, which has not held shows since a March 14 event in Brasilia, has not offered its roster of fighters a stipend or living wage during its forced hiatus. The promotion reportedly paid some of the fighters who were scheduled to compete on the UFC London show, though it remains unclear how much they were paid or if it applied to all the fighters on the card.
Given the current dry spell, Oleinik knew he had little choice but to compete in order to fend for his family.
“If you lose [your fight], then you have enough money for 4-5 months of life, and if you win, for 8-10 [months].”
UFC 249 is scheduled to take place on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. The state of Florida has 36,897 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — up 542 from the previous day — and nearly 1400 deaths.
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