Last Saturday, Brendan Allen’s world was turned on its head. At least career-wise.
Allen had been scheduled agasint Ian Heinisch as part of UFC Vegas 13 that day. It was the second time then officially been booked, and for the second time, Heinisch dropped off the card. This time around, due to a positive COVID-19 test.
One week later, Allen is back, in a catchweight bout with Sean Strickland. At this week’s UFC Vegas 14 media day, Allen recalled how everything played out.
“Everything happened on Saturday. Everything,” said Allen. His manager called him around noon, breaking the news that Heinisch had tested positive for COVID-19. “They tried to reschedule us for November 28, which is the day after my kid’s birthday. I’m not missing my kid’s birthday as long as I’m alive, for anybody.” The UFC’s next offer was December 4. “That’s my wife’s birthday. Then they said January 13 or 16, whatever the Saturday is, I said yes. Then they came back with November 21, I said no, that’s my mother’s birthday. Next thing you know they came with this. I was more than happy to take it.”
Allen’s line of thinking was simple: with a number of important dates in his own life coming up, “I wasn’t gonna redo my whole schedule for a guy that I’ve already tried to fight twice, and it didn’t happen.”
Allen had actually flown back to Florida on a red eye the same night his fight with Heinisch had been cancelled. With everything coming together so quickly, after two training sessions on Monday, he returned to Las Vegas on Tuesday.
But everything worked out great in the end, Allen stated. “Mick Maynard, Dana White, they all took care of me, got me this fight. I’m super-happy about it, and I’m ready to fight and go home.”
Allen wouldn’t confirm whether he was paid his show money after weighing in last Friday for the fight with Heinisch. “They took care of me,” he noted, suggesting at least some form of compensation was doled out.
Luckily, there was no worry about catching COVID-19 from Heinisch, given Allen came close to him during the face-off photo op last week. “Me and my full family have already had it,” said Allen.
In any case, Heinisch is in the past. And if the two were ever to be booked opposite one another again, it would take some assurances to get Allen to sign on for the fight.
“I’m kind of over the whole Ian thing. In order to sign a contract with Ian, there’s going to have to be a replacement in place to know that I am going to fight that night,” Allen stated.
After all, it’s not as if the middleweight is made of money, he continued. And fight camps cost a lot of money. “By the time I fight, I’ve already spent money that I have for the camp. So financially, it’s a big stress if I don’t fight. Like I said the UFC took care of me for this, and I’m so grateful for what they’ve done for me.” That includes for the cancelled bout, and for landing him the fight with Sean Strickland. “I’m very blessed, but it is very stressful for me if I don’t fight. So in order for that to happen, there has to be a replacement in place, there has to be a guarantee that I will fight that night. But in regards to Ian, I’m kind of over that. That ship has kind of sailed.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 14 media day scrum with Brendan Allen above. The event takes place this Saturday, November 14 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.