Both Giles (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), a UFC middleweight, and Cummins (7-5 MMA), an Invicta atomweight, serve their communities as police officers. The coronavirus pandemic has made their day-to-day work lives a little bit busier.
“Work is getting busier; I’d say it’s a good 10-to-15 percent busier,” Giles, a Houston police officer, recently told MMA Junkie. “The reason for that is a lot of people aren’t at work right now. That means more people are home, which means more reason to call. We have to respond to all of those calls. Also, you’ve got the people that don’t really take the virus too seriously. They’re taking them not having to work as them being out on some kind of break. Instead of being in the house, they’re out and about outside. They’re having a little vacation for themselves. I think that’s part of the problem.”
Cummins, an officer in the San Diego area, echoed most of Giles’ sentiments. She said she saw an initial uptick in crime – especially violent crime.
“Where I patrol, I’d say the first week when the virus was bad and they made all of those announcements, it was quiet that week,” Cummins told MMA Junkie. “After that, violent crime got bad. People started taking advantage of the situation knowing that cops may be busy in other areas helping people because of the virus. Where I patrol, I’ve seen a spike in robberies and assaults.”
While most of the world is quarantining at home and avoiding the virus at all costs, Giles and Cummins have to face the virus head on. When 9-1-1 is called, they have to answer.
Both are outstanding members of their communities, but Giles and Cummins are still human. The prospect of contracting COVID-19 still worries them, but they agreed the feat is less about themselves than it is about their loved ones. Giles has a wife and a baby; Cummins a fiancee.
“I’m obviously concerned about it, especially when I come back home and I have a wife here and an almost 1-year-old boy,” Giles said. “It’s not just me. I’d be a lot less worried if it was just me. I’ve got a family here, so if I come home sick, I can get somebody else sick. It’s just not a good deal. I’m worried all the time.
As for Cummins, there are multiple ports of entry for the coronavirus to enter her household as she isn’t the only one helping the community on the frontlines.
“My fiancee is a nurse, so she’s on the frontlines of all this – even more so than me,” Cummins said. “I am worried we’re going to get it. She has COVID-19 patients on her floor. Me as a police officer, I’ve been going to calls where people have fevers and they’re coughing. We transport them and help medics. I’m around these people, and I don’t know if they’re positive or not. Do they have the normal flu? Or do they have COVID-19? I’m being exposed. She’s being exposed.
“I’m young enough and healthy enough where I know I can fight it off. She can fight it off, most likely. We don’t have asthma or diabetes or anything. I’m mainly worried about my parents because they’re older. … I’m not worried about myself, but I’m concerned about the public. I don’t want to see people sick. Hopefully this gets better soon and we can all go back to normal.”
Over the past month, the UFC attempted to keep as many of their plans intact as possible. UFC president Dana White and company tried to proceed as planned but were forced to follow the lead of other major sports organizations when ESPN recommended they postpone all upcoming events.
Being both first responders and MMA fighters, Giles and Cummins have a unique perspective on the COVID-19 situation pertaining to fighting. Both fighters agree the safest option is to wait until there is an elevated level of clearance from government and public health officials.
“I think it’s smart as far as business goes, but as far as the fighters’ health, I’m sure they’re taking all the precautions they need to take as far as finding out if the fighters are sick or anything like that,” Giles said. “Obviously, the best thing you can do as far as health is to just not have the fights – just hold off. Again, it sucks because if that’s the case then these fighters were already expecting this payday, they don’t get paid now. I can see both sides of it.”
Cummins added, “I understand why they’re shutting down and people are pissed off. This virus is serious. People are dying at the end of the day. Is it really worth someone possibly dying? It’s not. That’s what I said my last fight. My opponent didn’t make weight. Everything thought I was going to talk all this (expletive) and be mad. I was like, ‘No. I’m just glad she’s healthy and didn’t end up in the hospital.’ At the end of the day, this sport isn’t worth our health.”
Note: MMA Junkie’s interviews with Giles and Cummins were conducted prior to the cancellation of upcoming UFC events.