Lyman Good’s road to his fight with Belal Muhammad this weekend has been one beset with tragedy and tribulation.
When the pair enter the octagon at UFC on ESPN 11 on Saturday, Good will do so having overcome one battle already — against COVID-19. In April, Good became the first UFC fighter publicly known to have contracted the disease.
After surviving that, he managed to hang on to his original April match-up with Muhammad. Only to suffer the loss of his father just weeks out from their upcoming fight.
An emotional Good (21-5, 1NC) tackled both subjects at the UFC on ESPN 11 media day, speaking with media outlets including Cageside Press.
“It’s definitely been a long road,” he began, before revealing that just a few weeks ago, his father had passed away. “So it’s been a roller coaster ride emotionally, physically, on all levels. But for me, one of the things we’re trained in as martial artists is to learn how to maintain the integrity of your focus, just stay the path no matter what happens and stay the course because at the end of it, you’re gonna feel a lot better about yourself knowing that you stuck to your path, you trained hard and then you kept at it. So I’m definitely looking forward to this fight.”
The passing of Good’s father was perhaps a while in the making. As he later explained it, “they did rule it as natural cause, but he just wasn’t a healthy person. After the military, he lived a life with a lot of alcohol, a lot of smoking, so it was one of those things that was just inevitable.”
Still, it’s no less emotional for the fighter, who struggled to maintain his composure when he pointed out that his fight against Muhammad was taking place the day before Father’s Day.
“For me to not fight would be an injustice to his honor and to his name, and I felt like if anything, [I would] try to use this as an opportunity to go out there,” explained Good. “It’s literally a day before Father’s Day and I said to myself, let’s go out there and let’s do this for him.”
As for COVID-19, Good said he suspects being in fighting shape helped him overcome the virus. And he never worried that revealing his status might cost him fights down the road. “I was banking on the fact that as a fighter through and through, that we would fight no matter what. There’s already proof that a lot of us have been taking fights in the past few weeks, which means that we’re willing to take the risks. But there’s many risks that we as fighters already take anyways. So this is no different for us.”
“If anything,” added Good, “I felt it was probably good for me to go out public with it.” Doing so allowed him the chance to use his platform to shed a little more light onto the virus, he said, just by voicing his own experience with it.
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 11 media day scrum with Lyman Good above.