Ahead of UFC 249, Sam Alvey Isn’t Worried About Any Curveballs Due to Coronavirus

Sam Alvey UFC
Sam Alvey Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Sam Alvey was supposed to fight Khalil Rountree Jr. at UFC Columbus last month. Then the card fell through, thanks to the coronavirus. Alvey was left without a fight. And yet, just over a week later, Alvey (33-13, 1NC) once again has a fight on — at UFC 249, against Ryan Spann. Alvey didn’t even know the location when he took the fight, although it has since been revealed that the card will go down on native land in California.

“The fight was cancelled, about a week later, we got an e-mail from the UFC saying ‘hey, if we get you an opponent, would you want to fight on the 18th?'” Yes was Alvey’s clear answer, he told Cageside Press this week. He expected he’d still be fighting Rountree, and continued training.

Then… nothing. No word. “We’re probably not fighting… probably not. Maybe I’ll stop dieting so hard,” thought Alvey. But he opted instead to stay the course.

“This last Sunday, I got another e-mail. They said ‘It’s on! You want to fight this guy? Khalil can’t make it.'” And so Alvey was paired up with Spann.

He heard the talk of a private island, floated by UFC President Dana White, and everything else. “Awesome, maritime law. Just go twenty miles out, we’ll get a big boat. It’ll be amazing,” he joked.

“I suspect they’re not releasing the location so the media won’t go nuts on where ever the location is,” Alvey later added, just hours before the media did, in fact, learn the location of UFC 249. “I suppose they’re not going to tell anyone where the location is until they absolutely have to, to give the media less time to try and picket, and try and tell them how terrible this location is.”

Alvey’s guess was an Indian reservation, tribal land — and it looks as if he was correct. Regardless, to a fighter, location doesn’t really matter. Opponent sure does though, and Alvey’s going from the frying pan into the fire with this match-up. Ryan Spann is a former LFA champ on an impressive win streak.

“It’s a completely different fight. He’s 6 foot 5, he’s got an 81 inch reach. He’s a very imposing figure as far as his size,” Alvey admitted. “I was going to be the bigger fighter in the cage against Khalil, now I’m going to be significantly smaller than this guy.”

Alvey added that when it comes to Spann, “he’s got some real talent, then he’s got this guillotine that gets everybody. I think he’s got 17 wins, he guillotined like 14 of them or something. It’s just those long arms.”

“He’s definitely a different opponent. I have a week to get ready for him. I’m going to get ready for him, and beat him up,” finished Alvey.

Let’s just hope he makes it to the fight. There’s a lot of talk about whether UFC 249 should take place. A lot of obstacles in the way. Where ever you side, it’s not up to the fighters. They need to fight to get paid.

Alvey, for one, isn’t concerned about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “It doesn’t scare me at all. I’ve done an interview or two about the coronavirus, and the way we’re handling it, and I get so much sh*t once I tell them where I come down on it. But I’m watching the CDC numbers I’m watching all the charts, I’m very aware of it.”

The former middleweight and current light heavyweight believes that, for starters, the numbers are being overstated. “Two weeks ago, they predicted in New York, there’s going to be X amount of deaths. There’s 1/4 of that number. The charts are not correct. The data they’re using is not correct.”

As a result, “I’m not nervous about fighting there. I’m not nervous about any fallout or anything. I’m not nervous. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty certain I had the coronavirus in January.” His entire gym and household, said Alvey, fell ill with an unknown ailment in January — a time when no testing for coronavirus was available.

Smilin’ Sam isn’t worried about being stuck somewhere else if he travels for a fight, either. Alvey believes, worst case scenario, that while international travel may be banned, interstate travel won’t be. It wouldn’t be constitutional. “What’s the hashtag, keep calm and carry on? That’s what I’m trying to do.”

“I’m not worried about the possibility [of being quarantined elsewhere]. I’m keeping up to date as best I can on all the information coming at me, and I’m not worried about it.”

Watch our full interview with Smilin’ Sam Alvey below!