UFC fighter Lyman Good tested positive for the coronavirus last month, he told ESPN's Ariel Helwani in a video interview Monday. He is the first UFC athlete to publicly acknowledge having tested positive for the virus.
Good, 34, said he is now feeling "100%" and is in full recovery. The New Jersey resident said he was tested again last week for coronavirus and tested negative.
Good (21-5, 1 NC) was scheduled to fight Belal Muhammad at UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn before that card was moved and later canceled. On April 4, Good told MMAFighting.com that he had to withdraw from the bout due to an injury. However, the real reason -- which he did inform the UFC about at the time -- was due to him having COVID-19.
Good said about four weeks ago he woke up feeling very weak ahead of a planned sparring day. He pushed through and sparred anyway, which caused him to feel even worse. Good said he had difficulty breathing and felt things were not normal with his body.
"I knew something was up," Good said. "I know my body. I've been through it all. I've been through a lot of injuries and a lot of other things. But this was different. ... As a professional athlete, we're always constantly pushing our bodies. For me, my body was like my point check to see how physically I feel and everything. And my body just wasn't there at all."
Good said after that he and his live-in girlfriend, Elena Bulgor, went to get tested for coronavirus. It took four hours at a drive-through staging area. He called it a "surreal" experience. A few days later, they got the results back and they were both positive for COVID-19. Good said he let everyone around him, including teammates and coaches, know about the result.
One of his coaches also ended up testing positive for coronavirus, but his training partners -- including UFC fighter Shane Burgos -- were negative. Good said he, Bulgor and his coach have now recovered.
"My real concern was really just my teammates, my coaches and anyone I was exposed to," Good said. "God forbid they get it, they spread it, and someone else gets sick really bad. I would feel responsible."
Good said the symptoms, which included a cough he got later in the process, were bad for about a week. He did not need to be hospitalized. He said he and Bulgor have been quarantined at their homes, but now he has returned to training.
"We had to lean on each other pretty much," Good said of himself and Bulgor. "Unfortunately, I brought it back to her. I guess when I got it, I didn't have the symptoms right away. ... We did the best we could together inside the household to just recover from this thing."
Before coming out with his personal medical news, Good said he wanted to make sure he had fully recovered so it was a happy ending. He also added he didn't want to cause more people to be afraid. Training during this time was an inherent risk, he said, and one he accepted.
"We didn't want to feed into the fear, the imminent fear going on in society now," Good said. "It's a pandemic, it is a real thing happening. But I didn't want to stoke the flames."
One of the reasons he went back to get tested again last week was to work with the Red Cross on donating his antibodies. Good is hoping that he can help others who are suffering from the virus.
"Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't surviving this thing," Good said. "I want to take this negative and try to turn it into a positive."
The welterweight fighter has won three of his five fights in the UFC and is coming off a third-round TKO over Chance Rencountre at UFC 244 last November. Good, who was the first-ever Bellator welterweight champion in 2009, has finished all of his UFC victories.
The UFC has canceled six events due to the coronavirus pandemic. The promotion is targeting a return May 9 at a yet-to-be-determined location with no fans present. Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the UFC interim lightweight title is the planned main event.
Good said he was "grateful" to the UFC for still trying to put on fight cards, which would help athletes get paid. He said he got a call personally from UFC president Dana White and the promotion has been "extremely helpful" to him.
Good said the coronavirus "wreaked havoc" on his lungs, so he'll still need a full training camp. But he wants to return to the Octagon before long.
"I want to get back on a card," Good said. "I have unfinished business. Like I said before, I'm a fighter through and through. I was out of commission for a little bit, but I'm ready to go back there."
By sharing his story, Good said he wants to bring light to this situation everyone is facing, not pessimism.
"I don't want people to feel bad for me and or to say this whole situation is messed up," Good said. "It is, but at the same time I was fortunate enough to beat it. Now, let's get through this, let's stay connected. Stay positive. We'll get past it, there's better times on the way."