Alliance BJJ black belt and former UFC fighter Sergio Moraes is finally on the upswing after testing positive for COVID-19, but make no mistake — the battle to get well again hasn’t been an easy one for the martial artist.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Moraes detailed his experience being sick with the coronavirus in Sao Paulo, saying that he went to the city to take care of his parents, but that they “ended up taking care of [him].” He said he first started getting symptoms of the virus back in mid-April and stayed isolated in a room in his father’s backyard. Dr. Felipe Carnevale, who is Moraes’ BJJ teammate, took him to the hospital, where he tested positive.
Moraes explained that he initially believed his long athletic career would prevent his respiratory symptoms from getting too intense, but ended up struggling with even minimal exercise. “The first four or five days, my doctor called and asked me to put on a mask and walk around the block to see if I would experience shortness of breath. I laughed. ‘Are you crazy? I’m an athlete my entire life. I have this disease for four days and you’re talking shortness of breath? You’re crazy.’ I hang up the phone, changed my clothes. I was already breathing heavy when I walked up the stairs. ‘My God, what is this?’ Man, I was so out of breath I had to sit down. I didn’t even walk around the block.”
Moraes continued to feel isolated and helpless as he stayed with, but separate from his parents. He described how overwhelmed the whole experience made him feel. “I don’t think the media even says everything this disease causes. For some moments, if I know where was the off switch — ‘enough, no more’ — I would have pressed it. Man, it dominates you in such a way. The medicine[s] are strong — you don’t want to eat and drink anything because of them. It really affects you. I was very concerned… Your hands are tied. You have to be strong, but you can’t.”
Now that he’s on the mend, this fighter will hopefully be making some appearances either for other MMA promotions or on the mats in grappling competitions once it becomes safe to hold combat sports events throughout the world again.