By: Hans Themistode
It’s been roughly two months since sports have been played on a regular basis. The moment the gauntlet was dropped on non contact sports such as tennis, nascar and golf it was only a matter of time until more physical sports would follow suit.
Combat sports such as boxing and MMA soon hit the sidelines in the hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19. But now, after months of research, the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) has loosened its grip and provided a bit of hope for the future.
“Although it is impossible to eliminate all risk of COVID19, precautions can be made to reduce the risk of viral transmission,” the ARP statement read. “Many athletic commissions, organizations and promotions are developing new guidelines to limit exposure to all involved at events, including athletes, their teams, commission personnel and support staff.”
“Combat sports event procedures regarding COVID19 precautions should be actively developed, regularly reviewed and modified based on the evolving knowledge and scientific evidence put forth by public health authorities. These guidelines should also involve local and regional public health officials as well as infectious disease experts and epidemiologists.”
Before the ARP released their statement, the UFC was already set to make their return to the cage this upcoming weekend. Much like the ARP suggested, numerous changes to their normal routine have been made. Such as testing fighters for COVID-19 both before and after events, no fans in attendance and post fight interviews will be done in isolated areas outside of the arena.
“In today’s world, it’s as safe as possible,” said Muzzi, who will be the chief ringside physician for the Florida State Boxing Commission at UFC 249. “We’re living in a new normal. … We can do closed events, limiting the amount of people. Those that are working will be practicing social distancing.”
Whether the UFC knows it or not, they have officially become the de facto test study. Boxing fans and MMA lovers have never had a close relationship, but this weekend boxing enthusiasts will be in their corner. If they are successfully able to run their event without any issues, then it will give the sport of boxing a light at the end of their own tunnel.