Marlon Moraes kicks off final camp with 11-day stay in Thai hospital

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Marlon Moraes has decided Thailand’s famous Tiger Muay Thai would be the perfect place to start training for his March 12 clash with Song Yadong.

Unfortunately for the Brazilian bantamweight, his arrival in the country did not go exactly as planned.

“At this point in my career, I decided to come here, to start a solid camp, you know, to spend a few weeks in Thailand away from my family, training hard,” Moraes told MMA Junkie. “But man, it’s all gone crazy because I got here last Monday, and when you get to Thailand you have to test for COVID right away. I tested, and they called my room and they said, “Hey, I think your test is inconclusive, so wait. At night they would say, ‘Hey, you’re positive. We need to transfer you to the hospital.

“I mean, I didn’t quite understand what they were saying because the hotel I was in, they didn’t speak much English. Dude, I couldn’t even order food. It was hard, but man, I was almost out. I was almost going to train, you know, so no problem. But then an ambulance came, and brother, they threw me in the ambulance, and this guy started driving like a maniac, and I’m so lost because I didn’t know where I was going. I just know I’m positive, and I’m in the ambulance, and I don’t know where he’s taking me.

The reality of Moraes’ lightning-fast arrival in Thailand soon became evident when he was shown his new temporary residence, from where he would be asked not to leave. The 33-year-old certainly thought there must be some misunderstanding. After all, “Magic” said he was vaccinated against COVID-19 and also had a previous bout with the coronavirus as well. He also took precautionary measures while traveling from the United States, respecting the airlines’ mask mandate and also carrying a personal disinfectant in his bag.

But while he waited in the hospital, he felt symptoms set in.

“It’s different from a normal hospital because this place, you have to stay in this little room forever,” Moraes said on the last day of his 11-day order. “You can’t leave the room. You can’t go anywhere. You receive three meals a day: one at 8 a.m., one at noon and one at 5 p.m.

“Finally, after a few days, I started to get a little sick. I started to have a fever and aches and pains – a lot of pain in my back.

“It was crazy, crazy, crazy”

Having dealt with COVID before, Moraes knew the importance of hydration and made sure his diet was as clean as possible. Not wanting to worry his family back in Florida, he did not necessarily communicate all the details of his situation to his wife and children. He reached out to John Hutchinson of Tiger Muay Thai, who happily worked to help Moraes get everything he needed while remaining isolated.

“You have to eat clean,” Moraes said. “You have to drink a lot of water, electrolytes, and I wasn’t doing any of that, so I started to worry because now I’m fighting in eight weeks, and I wasn’t training properly and I was not getting any better.Finally, I was able to speak with the doctor.

“I contacted the right people. They started ordering food for me. I had IVs and started to feel better. Finally, I started to recover after the fourth day, you know? But it was crazy, crazy, crazy.

Moraes (23-9-1 MMA, 5-5 UFC) spoke to MMA Junkie on Friday, just hours before he was released from hospital. For now, he still intends to honor the fight deal he signed to take on Yadong (18-5-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) in a UFC Fight Night event on the 12th. March, which is scheduled to take place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

That said, he plans to put himself to the test at Tiger Muay Thai and make sure he’s made a full recovery before he can fully commit.

“Dude, I never got out of the fight,” Moraes said. “I don’t want to retire from this fight, but I want to see how I feel. I wanna train my hard body and see how I feel, you know, because it’s a really important fight, and I wanna get in there, and I wanna perform, and I wanna finish this guy and prove to everyone that I’m still at UFC level.

Moraes, a former WSOF champion, is still ranked No.8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports / MMA Junkie bantamweight leaderboard, but he’s currently mired in a three-fight losing skid and knows it’s imperative that he performs well in March. Perhaps ironically, it is this commitment to maximizing one’s performance that has led to perhaps an even greater challenge.

“I know it’s a tough fight, a very important fight for me, and I really want to prepare well because I know that’s it,” said Moraes. “I have this opportunity with the UFC, another one, and I have to perform. I have to see where I am still and if I’m still at this level because I want to fight guys at this level, and I want to beat guys. You know, I’m not in UFC just to be another on the list.

For now, Moraes believes he will still be in competition, and the typically jovial contender was excited to end his quarantine. With the finish line in sight, Moraes could look back and laugh at the home stretch.

“It was funny because the first few days I couldn’t find a channel on TV. But there’s a bunch of people here in this hospital, and a smart guy, he thought of making a group with all the people on our floor. So everyone was talking to each other on WhatsApp after a few days, ”Moraes said. “They told me there was an English channel, and I have this one channel with movies, so I tried to watch movies. I tried to read a lot, you know, and tried to keep my mind awake by watching a lot of fights, writing things down.

“It’s crazy. I couldn’t really train. I couldn’t do anything. There isn’t much room for training, you know? So for a few days I did push-ups. . That’s it.”

“It was for something”

With the worst seemingly behind, Moraes finally shared all the details of his trip with his wife back home, and he thanked her for giving him strength. While Moraes is widely regarded as one of the most positive fighters in the world, he said the incident tested even his resolve.

“I always thought about not letting my wife worry,” Moraes said. “She is at home with our children. You know, it’s a little hard. But after a few days we all stay positive. She talks to me all the time, keeping me positive as they first told me I was going to leave after seven days. Then, ‘No, it will be more. You must stay 11 days. She was always on my side, the type to say, ‘Stay strong. Never, never has it been easy for us. We’ve always had to fight, and I think that’s going to make you stronger, and things happen for a reason.

“It’s hard, and it’s hard to believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’m still here, and what am I going to do?” It was a crazy test, 11 crazy days, but going through it was for something. Believe it.

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