In possibly the biggest fight of his career, Belal Muhammad faces No. 3. ranked Leon Edwards but will not have his head coach in the corner following a positive COVID test.
The news came at a bad time considering this will be Muhammad’s first five-round fight and also the first time headlining a UFC card. Speculation grew last week after both Muhammad and Edwards were unable to attend the big UFC 259 press conference due to Covid-19 protocols, which UFC president Dana White made crystal clear at the beginning that the virus would not prevent the fight from happening. In such an unsteady climate, unfortunately, Belal Muhammad will have to move forward without one of his closest coaches, Louis Taylor.
“He’s my head coach, he is literally the one who got me into fighting,” Belal Muhammad told ESPN. “He was my high school wrestling coach. He brought me from the ground up. He’s like my older brother, mentor. He’s staying and quarantining out here, just in case I need anything. I’m going to look through his window and put my hand up, keep that energy close.”
In addition to being a coach, Taylor is also a very close mentor to Belal Muhammad. The 32-year old fighter has been with him for so long, it’s hard to imagine a corner without him. However, with such a daunting task in front of him, the devout Muslim understands that business needs to come before emotions.
“We’re not going to sit there and pout about it,” Muhammad said. “It’s just going to be another chapter in our story. We’ll think back and say, ‘Man, remember when I lost you on my first main event?'”
Overall, it appears “Remember The Name” is taking the absence well, and intends to find a worthy replacement for fight night. This is certainly a priority for Muhammad. With Edwards coming in with a blistering eight-fight win streak, Muhammad will need all hands on deck for this welterweight challenge.
As the fight approaches, do you believe the loss of his head coach will affect the performance of Belal Muhammad? Let us know below what you think!