On Monday night, it was reported that top bantamweight contenders Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen will collide at the upcoming UFC San Diego card, tentatively scheduled for May 16.
Unfortunately, Sterling has pumped the brakes on this reported matchup.
On Monday morning, the bantamweight contender took to Twitter where he assured that, with his gym closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, he’s not accepting any fights right now.
I don’t even have access to my gym anymore. It’s been a complete ban for everyone and you guys think I’m taking a fight? Yea, ok.
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) March 24, 2020
“I don’t even have access to my gym anymore,” Sterling wrote. “It’s been a complete ban for everyone and you guys think I’m taking a fight? Yea, ok.”
This comment from Sterling is a reminder that the combat sports world is enduring a truly unprecedented situation. Not only are fight cards being canceled and postponed left, right and center, but gyms are also closing, meaning the fighters on cards that have not yet been canceled have nowhere to train.
Some, like Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, have gotten creative, but with gyms closed, adequate training has become impossible for many athletes.
Aljamain Sterling is currently on a four-fight win-streak, having recently bested Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera, Cody Stamann and Brett Johns. Many fans feel that this streak already warrants a bantamweight title shot, but with the division’s champ Henry Cejudo tied up with a controversial fight with Jose Aldo, Sterling will have to wait.
Cory Sandhagen, meanwhile, is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC, with notable wins over John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao. The streaking contender was briefly linked to a San Diego showdown with Dominick Cruz, but that proposed matchup quickly fizzled out. It appears the same is true of this reported fight with Sterling.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/24/2020.