COVID-19 was the least of Sam Alvey’s problems heading into UFC 249

On Saturday, May 9th, the UFC would step forward during a global pandemic by producing one of 2020’s most stacked fight cards.

Despite criticism from a large audience, the event was a great success, rumored to have done 700,000 pay-per-view buys. A part of those who competed this past weekend is “Smile’n” Sam Alvey, who details his time prior and during UFC 249 this past weekend.

To say it’s a weird time in the world we live in is an understatement. Since the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the global shut down, sports were essentially canceled indefinitely. The pandemic would also cause an early close of the XFL, which barely got through its first quarter of the season. Despite the risk, Sam Alvey had a job to do, and nothing was stopping him.

It was nearly a year since Alvey fought in the octagon, which isn’t normal for the Wisconsin native. On November 16th of last year, Sam was set to meet the legend, Shogun Rua in the octagon, but due to a broken hand, he was forced to withdraw from his fight. An injury that would create one of his longest layoffs once again threatened his return at UFC 249, but nothing was stopping the man of all smiles.

On Saturday, Alvey met Ryan Spann, who is a DWCS (Dana White’s Contender Series) veteran. Just two weeks prior to the fight, Sam would once again injure his left hand, fracturing the same metacarpal bone he had fractured leading into his canceled fight with Shogun.

“No, I didn’t disclose the injury to anyone. There was no way I was pulling out of this fight. I needed to work, I hadn’t fought in almost a year.”

Alvey would only receive his x-ray, taken two-weeks out from his fight following his decision loss to Spann, confirming the break. “It’s sore, but it’s okay. I knew what it was, and now it just needs rest and then I’m ready to go.”

This is the first time in Sam Alvey’s career there has been a four-fight skid, which “Smile’n” attributes to his jump to 205.

“I think I’m going back down to middleweight [185lbs] for my next fight,” said Alvey. “There have been a couple of fights I thought I won, my fight this past weekend is one of them, and maybe I’m losing because I look smaller to the judges. I’m always the smaller fighter at 205, so maybe that’s playing a part. I’ll start trimming off the weight now, and I’ll be ready to go soon. My next fight will be at middleweight.”

Any jump to a heavier division is a challenge, and while Alvey did find some success, it also produced the longest losing streak of his 48-fight professional career. With UFC 249 now in the past, Alvey walked The Scrap through what fight week was like during the current pandemic.

“I was fine with fighting in the empty arena. I’ve done it before when I was qualifying for the Ultimate Fighter. I kind of like it, actually. We were tested for Coronavirus through a thumb prick [which would draw blood from the individual being tested] and with the nasal swab. The first swab I did wasn’t so bad. We were later informed we would have to do a second test, which I was fine with, but that one was bad. I couldn’t stop coughing, which sucks because you have a doctor in your face and you’re coughing all over them, and my eyes were watering.”

Once news broke that Jacare Souza had tested positive for COVID-19 following the official weigh-ins, Alvey admits he had a brief moment where he was worried the event might be canceled, but the “UFC had done such a great job and invested so much money into making sure we were safe,” he quickly moved on and had no fear.

The possibility of Jacare and his team spreading the virus was also in question, which Sam wasn’t bothered by. “I’m a young, healthy man. I wasn’t worried about that.” No other fighter or person at the venue has tested positive for COVID-19. With nearly 300 in attendance for UFC 249, it was said that 1200 tests for the virus were administered.

Tagged with: