UFC on ESPN reporter Laura Sanko can only imagine how the “Fight Island” sleep schedule could be affecting fighters.
While on The Luke Thomas Show via MMA on SiriusXM Fight Nation, Monday, July 13, Sanko explained the challenges of the sleep schedule needed for Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. She specifically discussed Kamaru Usman’s unanimous decision win against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 this past Saturday, June 11.
“Can I tell you something too because I feel like fighters are not willing enough to talk about it, the sleep schedule here is so incredibly F’d,” Sanko said.
“I thought Kamaru looked slightly more flat footed than we saw him against Colby. I think part of that was the last minute opponent change. I think part of it is being here. It is a really weird situation being here, I’m not going to lie.”
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) July 13, 2020
On the clock
Laura Sanko may be on to something, given the fact the UFC 251 main card started at 6 a.m. in Abu Dhabi. She gave her own account, stating her call time for the event was at 11:30 p.m.
After all three title fights went into the fifth round, the pay-per-view portion of the card ended slightly before 10 a.m. Sanko is the first to admit she could feel the effects.
“I’m telling you, in my last three interviews, I was struggling to string a sentence together,” Sanko said. “I was trying to stay on a schedule that would accommodate that. I’ve been trying very hard to stay awake, do all the right things, take my melatonin when I need to and all of that.”
— Laura Sanko (@laura_sanko) July 9, 2020
The second of four “Fight Island” cards, UFC on ESPN 13, takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15. Whether the fighters are feeling the same or not, Sanko is not holding back on how it’s impacting her.
Many fighters are already facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the flight and quarantine, the sleep schedule is another obstacle that comes with the territory.
“I’ve become someone who lives at night, I don’t think I’ve seen the sun in a whole long time,” Sanko said. “If there are fighters that are trying to do the same things I’m doing, it really messes you up.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.