Lauren Murphy explains why she nearly pulled out of UFC 266 title fight with Valentina Shevchenko

By Adam Martin - September 30, 2021

Lauren Murphy explained why she nearly pulled out of her UFC 266 title fight with UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.


Murphy fought Shevchenko in the co-main event of this past Saturday’s UFC 266 PPV card, and she ended up losing the fight via fourth-round TKO. It was not a good performance by Murphy, but she says one of the reasons for that is because she didn’t have her head coach, Alex Cisne, in her corner for the fight. Her coach tested positive for COVID-19 just days before the fight and Murphy was forced to fight Shevchenko without her coach.

Speaking to, Murphy explained why she nearly pulled out of the UFC 266 title fight and why she ultimately made the decision to keep on competing for the belt.

“When we found out on Tuesday that he tested positive, the UFC quarantined him and made him leave the fighter hotel and that he couldn’t corner me on Saturday, at first, we were thinking we would pull out of the fight. I was like, ‘I need to have my coach there.’ I don’t know, we just ended up deciding not to. I was healthy, I didn’t have any injuries, I wasn’t sick. The odds of me showing up to a title fight being in that good of health probably weren’t very good and I thought, ‘If I pull out of the fight, what would happen?’ They’d probably put Cynthia [Calvillo] in because Valentina would still want to fight, then I’d probably have to fight another No. 1 contender fight just to get back to the title again,” Murphy said.

“My manager was staying in the hotel with us and we all sat down as a team wondering if we should all go forward, because that’s my head coach. Derrick Lewis wouldn’t fight without Bob Perez in his corner. Would Valentina fight if f*cking Pavel [Fedotov] tested for COVID? I don’t know, but it was a hard choice to make but we were pretty close to calling it. I slept on it to see where we were at Wednesday morning, and I just felt like I had to do it. I didn’t know what the reaction would be if I pulled out of the fight.”

Do you think Lauren Murphy should have pulled out of UFC 266 once her coach was not able to be in her corner?

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