Kiwi UFC star Shane Young has put to rest any suggestions that his bout at UFC 260 this Sunday has been cancelled, confirming "the fight is still on."
After City Kickboxing teammate Brad Riddell had his scheduled fight called off last weekend due to Covid-19 protocols, reports suggested Young's bout had gone the same way. Riddell's bout was called off after Australian training partner and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski tested positive for Covid-19 in the days before the event. Riddell has only returned negative tests.
Young is in a similar position, however with his fight being a week later he is still able to compete provided no one else in his team returns a positive test with Volkanovski taken out of the bubble and his title defence scheduled for UFC 260 cancelled.
"I tested negative yesterday," Young said. "I'll be getting another Covid test on Friday (Saturday NZT), which will come up negative, then just mosey on and get the fight done."
Young said the situation had been somewhat of a distraction, adding to the stress of having to leave his family in Auckland for about a month. Both Young and Riddell have children who are in the first year of their lives and, in order to do their jobs, must commit to spending time abroad before doing their mandatory two-week quarantine on return to New Zealand.
Young said the added strain of a Covid-19 scare wasn't helping anyone.
"At the end of the day we chose to come here and knew the risk we were taking," he admitted.
"I mainly feel for my family back home; there's a lot of strain and I think sometimes people forget that we're people and we have families. We talk about it – the new dads club - and try our best to be hunky dory about it and maybe that fools people into thinking we are hunky dory, but if you just put yourself in our shoes...I just want to fight and get home to my family."
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Young (13-5) makes his return to the octagon against Venezuelan Omar Morales (10-1), with both fighters looking to get back into the win column after a loss last time out.
In Morales, Young meets a well-rounded fighter who has proven to be capable of ending things on the ground or on the feet. Morales has spent most of his career at lightweight, but made the drop down a weight class to featherweight and, although he lost his debut bout in the weight class, appears committed to remaining there going forward.
Young, himself, is comfortable wherever the fight may go, and the colliding styles of the two have many fans excited about the match-up.
Initially scheduled to be a part of the early prelims, only available to watch on the UFC's streaming platform UFC Fight Pass, Young's bout has since been bumped up to the main prelims, broadcast on ESPN, with two other fights on the card being cancelled.