When it came to the cancellation of MMA events due to coronavirus, the majority of fighters had a week if not more’s worth of notice, but for those like bantamweight Erion Zekthi who were scheduled to compete at Shamrock FC 329 on March 14, the notice came around 48 hours before it was to take place.
As Zekthi puts it, he was in the final process of his weight cut and over the course of a few hours of Thursday, March 12, Shamrock FC 329 went from being on to being cancelled.
“Thursday I wake up and people were asking me if the fights were still on,” Zekthi told MMAWeekly.com. “I called the matchmaker of Shamrock FC (Rob Donaker) that morning to make sure the fights were still on, and they thought for this event things should be good to go, then like six hours away I get a text message from a friend (consoling me about the) cancelled event.”
Understandably fighters on cancelled events have gone through a myriad of emotions, but as Zekthi puts it, there’s not much outlet for anger when it comes to a situation where there’s no person really to blame for why the show did not happen.
“There was a lot of frustration, just the timing (being so close to the event),” said Zekthi. “It was very reminiscent of a natural disaster, where you can’t be mad at an earthquake or tornado, but I’m mad and there’s no one to direct that frustration at.
“This whole situation is frustrating on so many levels. It’s frustrating on a personal level. It’s frustrating on an intellectual level. It’s frustrating on an athletic level. It’s just frustrating.”
For now with the unavailability of gyms to help stay active, Zekthi’s focus shifts to keeping his weight down so when he is finally able to train again he doesn’t have the added burden of dealing with that as well.
“I cut a lot of weight to get to 135-pounds,” Zekthi said. “I’m walking around at 162, 163-pounds, so I need a two to three weeks solid to get that weight off and make the weight comfortably. And that’s if I’m training hard and the diet’s right and everything’s lining up. But right now I’m doing very minimal things.
“Yoga here, some shadow boxing, some mitt work in the back yard, but it’s not like what you’d get in a full training session – not even close. It’s more to maintain the weight and not gain more; not so much to condition the body or prepare yourself.”
While initially getting back to fighting was all Zekthi could think about, in the weeks since the cancellation he’s had a chance to take a step back and focus on other things for the time being.
“It’s weird because with time my outlook or my perspective was how soon can I fight,” said Zekthi. “Now with more time to cool down and look at the situation, I would need to put together a camp, and I’d have to go through that whole process (again). It’s tough for everybody. It’s tough for logistics. It’s tough for work schedule. It’s tough for family.
“Now my perspective has shifted. It will happen when it happens. Now I’m concentrated on family and making sure everyone is cool.”