Tony Ferguson was already in Las Vegas when the mass shooting occurred Sunday night. He talks about how the tragic event has affected him heading into his UFC 216 interim title fight against Kevin Lee and says he is surprised the event is proceeding.
Tony Ferguson was in Las Vegas when more than 50 people were shot dead on the Strip Sunday night.
It was just a regular last day before fight week. He went to Complete Health and Wellness to recover from training and later made his way over to a local store to pick up some groceries. His wife broke the news about the mass shooting in a phone call while he was at the store.
“My wife tells me, ‘Don’t come back.’ My brother-in-law hits me up saying, ‘You heard all this stuff?’” Ferguson, who added that his family had planned on attending the event at which the shooting occured, told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani at the UFC 216 media day on Wednesday. “It’s just a crazy plethora of thoughts and things.”
Ferguson will take on rising lightweight Kevin Lee for the interim 155-pound belt in the main event of UFC 216, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. UFC officials said after the shooting in a heartfelt statement that the card would proceed as planned, which shocked “El Cucuy.”
Ferguson, like everyone in Las Vegas and beyond, is feeling down just days away from the biggest fight of his career. But he appears to be using what happened last weekend as extra motivation.
“I’m just so surprised that they’re still allowing this fight,” Ferguson said. “That just kinda just says something where it’s like when you lose and you win your next fight, you’re only as good as your last fight. Instead of forgetting it, I’m bringing it with me. I’m bringing the people that were harmed, that were injured, that are not here anymore. The people that went through the bullsh-t and had that sense of security missing. It’s bullsh-t.”
Apparently, the show must go on, and that’s something the lightweight contender has accepted.
“[I’m being] professional about it,” he said. “Of course (my heart is in the fight), because I’m not gonna let this guy beat me. I’m very focused, I’m very honed in. I have the ability to take the chaos and mold it. That’s my superhero power — to be able to hone it in and do what I want with it.”