Marvin Vettori Details Nightmare Lead Up To Cancelled UFC London Bout
Imagine not knowing if your fight is going to go ahead, amidst a worldwide pandemic. Now imagine flying 22 hours just to find out it has been cancelled. That has been the story of Marvin Vettori this past week!
The Italian middleweight was scheduled to fight Darren Stewart at UFC London this past weekend. After arriving in London, Vettori then found out that the company wanted him to fly back to the U.S., as they frantically tried to save the card from being the latest victim of the coronavirus.
“I just flew out on Friday to London,” Vettori said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I wanted to go out a little bit early to acclimate and everything with the time change and all that. Went out, got a workout in, and the situation was already a little bit weird. London was fine and less alarming than everywhere else, at least for the government and stuff. I thought [the fight] should be happening.
“I flew out, got a workout in, went to sleep, and at 3 a.m. my nutritionist wakes me up and says, ‘[President Donald] Trump just put up a travel ban and [UFC President] Dana [White] released a video saying UFC London is moved to the U.S.,’ so the fight is basically off here.”
Immediately after hearing the news, Vettori took a plane back to the U.S.. Unfortunately one of his coaches was not allow to go with him, due to a recent trip to Italy, where they have the most cases and deaths in Europe caused by coronavirus outbreak.
“In 48 hours, I’ve been 22 hours on a f***ing plane! Got back, and obviously I’m a little confused. I’m like the only thing I can actually control is I’ve got to stay ready. I’ve got to do whatever is on my schedule.” He continued, “I’ve got to train and make sure if there is an opportunity, I’m going to go out and f***ing smash that.”
After all this trouble, ‘The Italian Dream’ still hoped that he would get the chance to compete. Unfortunately, he got even more bad news.
“I wake up in the morning, I go to train,” Vettori recalled. “Then I see all these guys are being a bunch of crybabies like Tyron Woodley turning down fights – ‘Oh, I want to fight’ – but he’s turning down fights all over the place. Leon Edwards – ‘Oh I got this, I got that, I can’t go.’ A whole bunch of that. I see the UFC trying to make up the card, trying to look for fights. I was hoping. I was hoping somehow it happens, but there was a high level of uncertainty. I come out from my morning session, and I see the news where the fight is off and it’s not going to happen; all the events are shifted back.”
The worst was possibly yet to come, a few of the fighters who were scheduled to fight at UFC London, got the opportunity to compete on the Cage Warriors 113 card, which was moved from London to Manchester, as a result of the coronavirus.
Vettori’s initial opponent got the opportunity to fight on the card. After hearing this information, Vettori immediately asked if he could fly back to the U.K. once more, just so he could have the opportunity to fight.
“I’m like, ‘Fly me back! I’ll fight him,” Vettori stated. “I asked them to fly me back. I’ll fight this guy. I’ll make weight. Worst case scenario, they block me and I go back to Italy. I’m not worried about not being able to come back. Somehow make it happen, but they’re like, ‘At this stage it’s not possible.’ So it’s been a whole mess.
“Everything happened so quickly. It’s one of those things, we didn’t know. The fight got cancelled, and the UFC isn’t happening. Who the f*** could predict that the UFC would move two fights from UFC to Cage Warriors?”
What made Vettori even more upset is the fact that his career path has now lost some momentum. After losing an extremely close split decision to Israel Adesanya, the current UFC middleweight champion, he has won his last two bouts.
“I already beat [Israel Adesanya] but to get another chance to face that guy, I need to fight and they’re not letting me for some reason. I want my opportunity to go through these guys. But they don’t let me fight.”
More than anything, Vettori wanted to send a message of inspiration to his native Italy, a country that has lost more than 4,000 lives to the coronavirus.
“It’s f***ing frustrating for sure,” Vettori said. “Everybody was messaging me from Italy — ‘the only good thing is watching you fight’ — and it would have been great to send a message of resiliency and getting my hand raised for all the Italians in the struggle. But that didn’t happen.”
However, Marvin Vettori still sees the silver lining. He is still not sure what the future holds, but believes he will receive good news from the UFC in the near future.
“I could easily just let it completely go and let myself off the hook and be like f*** it whatever,” Vettori said. “I’m the best in the world in what I do. I will stay ready to go. I’m just going to stay ready like I have a fight. I’m a straight savage. I don’t give a f*** about uncertainty or all of that.
“I’ll make weight, I’ll still fight, and the UFC told me at this stage it’s not possible. I’ll stay ready. Better to stay ready for something that doesn’t happen than not be ready for an occasion that you could have.”