“Nobody was around. There was a doctor that I saw before and took my temperature and asked a ton of questions. I felt very safe the whole time.” – Ben Egli
While most sports are shut down due to the coronavirus, one event that decided to continue during lockdown was Submission Underground with its event on March 29 in Portland, Ore.
Among those competing on the submission grappling event was King of the Cage and Final Fight Championship veteran Ben Egli, who stepped in as a replacement for Carlos Condit against Jake Ellenberger in the evening’s co-main event.
“I’m always ready to go,” Egli told MMAWeekly.com. “My whole career has been looking for fights, but a lot of my fights have come with a little bit later notice than I would like. I’m ready all the time, so that was something that I didn’t need to think about. I was ready to go.
“I didn’t get to really train hard for two weeks leading up for it. My main training partners have been my wife, who holds pads for me when I do Muay Thai, and my eight-year-old son. It’s strange not being able to train really hard every day, but taking it bit easy didn’t hurt me, and I was ready to go and give it 100-percent no matter what.”
Though most people are quarantining in their homes during the lockdown, Egli feels he was safe to compete in Submission Underground due to the precautions the company took for the event, which included holding it in an empty building with minimal staff.
“The Submission Underground people did a great job,” said Egli. “I only saw a couple people while I was there. The closest I ever got to anybody was Jake Ellenberger when we were actually doing the match.
“Everything was disinfected. There was hand sanitizer readily available. Nobody was around. There was a doctor that I saw before and took my temperature and asked a ton of questions. I felt very safe the whole time. I got in and out of there pretty quick and then went back into quarantine with my family.”
As for his match with Ellenberger, Egli picked up a submission win three and a half minutes into the bout by staying aggressive and trusting in his grappling skills to overcome his opponent’s advantage in wrestling.
“He’s a sturdy, powerful guy with a great wrestling background,” Egli said of Ellenberger. “I was going to go in there, go hard, go for the win, and trust my skills. Being that I’m a black belt, I feel pretty safe against just about anybody on the planet in a five-minute time period.
“I knew my Jiu-Jitsu was going to keep me safe, and when you feel safe, you attack. I had a pretty aggressive style going out there. My goal was to stay busy the whole time and whatever happened the fight was going to hit the ground, and that’s what I wanted, and I got the submission.”
Having a history of staying as ready as he can for any opportunities that come his way, Egli intends on keeping that going in 2020 or whenever combat sport athletes are given the green light to return to action.
“It’s very strange to have so many unknowns,” said Egli. “Everybody else is going to be in the same boat. There are a lot of unknowns, but I know all I can do is take care of myself, try to sharpen my skills and be ready for whatever the next phone call is.”