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UFC fighter from Vancouver has dream fight at Moda Center postponed due to coronavirus pandemic

Ricky Simon came up fighting in the Vancouver Mall. He was just weeks away from having his dream come true: competing at the highest level in his own backyard.

PORTLAND, Ore. — UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon is waiting for his next fight.

“I’m hungry. I need to beat somebody up. It’s been too long," he said.

Fighting out of Vancouver, Washington, Simon has come a long way in his career as a mixed martial artist.

“When I started, you didn’t even need a commission. I came up fighting in the Vancouver Mall. They put a cage in one of the department stores," he recalled.

Simon was just weeks away from a dream come true: competing at the highest level in his own backyard. He was scheduled to be on the UFC fight card in Portland on April 11, but that event has been postponed.

“I had already been training for a month, traveling to train and spent a lot of money on the training camp getting prepared for that fight,” said Simon. “I was just super disappointed. I was imagining walking through the Moda Center and making that walk in front of all my fans.”

The UFC has postponed multiple events and that can be a big hit to the fighters financially.

“For us we really don’t have any guaranteed money. I don’t know how other professional athletes contracts work or anything like that. I think it varies, but we don’t get paid if we don’t compete," Simon said.

There’s also a challenge to training, in a sport that requires contact, at a time when many are trying to limit being close to each other.

“Everyone is starting to self-quarantine a little more. I’m interested to see how the gym [at home] looks or if it’s even open at this point," Simon said.

Simon remains ready for his next chance to step into the cage again.

“I’ve been training my butt off for the last several months. I’m just going to stay in shape and hopefully an opportunity pops up after all this craziness ends and hopefully you’ll see me on one of the early cards."

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