Northern Irish welterweight fighter Rhys McKee will take a break from fighting until normalcy returns to post-pandemic life. McKee revealed the news in an Instagram post shared on February 11, 2021.
Rhys McKee attributes his decision to step away from the sport to the Covid-19 infection that affected his preparation for the Alex Morono fight in November 2020.
'I spent 2 weeks in the middle of my fight camp for Morono training in my living room due to a positive test, I’ve always been game to fight any-one right now I’m looking after me, why perform under prepared, again everyone’s situation is different,I’ve more to loose than gain right now,' reads the caption of Rhys McKee's emotional post.
Born and raised in Ballymena, Northern Island, UK, Rhys McKee (10-4 MMA) signed an initial four-fight deal with the UFC and made his debut on UFC on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs Till in July 2020 against hot prospect Khamzat Chimaev. He lost that fight via first-round TKO. After losing his aforementioned second fight against Alex Morono and going winless in the promotion with a 0-2 record, McKee was released from the UFC along with other fighters including TUF Brazil winner Antonio Carlos Junior.
McKee broke the news on his Instagram story and told fans that it was time for him to go back to the drawing board and come back with a better version of himself.
“For me, it’s time to go and improve my game in all areas and take care of weaknesses. My next fight will not be in the UFC, but I will return to there a different level…The fight game is a game of margins and inches, I understand at the top there is no grace, but I’ll be back there trust that," Rhys McKee wrote in his Instagram story.
Rhys McKee's woes are shared by a large number of UFC fighters
UFC became the first sport to make a comeback after the Covid-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a standstill in early 2020. The organization has received a lot of praise for keeping its engines rolling by putting together entertaining fight cards throughout the year, but an overwhelmingly large number of fighters have suffered due to Covid-19.
While fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rose Namajunas and a few others lost their loved ones to the pandemic, others like Cody Garbrandt, Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards have been forced to sit on the sidelines due to lingering effects of the Covid-19 infection and travel restrictions.