Instead of coaching Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Fight Island, his head coach Mike Brown had to watch from home after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
He was definitely shocked after getting the results of his test back, which prevented him from boarding the flight with Masvidal and the rest of their team as he prepared to face off with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman on just six days’ notice.
After returning home, Brown experienced a few symptoms related to the deadly disease but overall he was feeling fit and back to full health rather quickly. Unfortunately, the real pain was what he felt not being there with Masvidal for the biggest fight of his career.
“A bit achy, had the chills, a little sweaty but by the next day it was pretty much gone,” Brown told MMA Fighting on Monday. “It was nothing. For me, it was really mild. I was just so sad that I couldn’t go with Jorge.
That’s it heartbreaking. This is as big as it gets. This is finally getting the big shot. I mean it wasn’t ideal circumstances, but it was still a chance to win the UFC world title. It’s the most prestigious title in the world that you can win. It would be great to be there with him.”
While it was tough not being there with Masvidal during fight week, the hardest part for Brown was missing out on the chance to coach and corner him during the five round battle with Usman.
With options limited, Brown ended up coaching via FaceTime over the phone but thanks to a time delay between the live action and the broadcast on ESPN+ pay-per-view, there was only so much input he could offer.
“I just tried to stay out of the way. I also didn’t want to be a distraction,” Brown said. “I was on FaceTime with [Jorge’s manager] Abe [Kawa] and the thing is my computer was on like a 30-second delay so I couldn’t really watch it on my computer. I had to watch it through Abe’s phone. It was hard for me to see much quality of what was going on. I just did my best.”