Eugene Bareman didn’t watch Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev 2: ‘I was too scared of what could happen’

Eugene Bareman admits he couldn’t get himself to watch Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev 2 at UFC 294.

Bareman was unable to corner Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) for his title-fight rematch against lightweight champion Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) this past October.

After almost beating Makhachev in their first fight at UFC 284, featherweight champion Volkanovski stepped in on short notice for their rematch. Bareman was against the idea, and didn’t even watch the fight when it happened.

“From a competitive standpoint, I told him, ‘Forget it,'” Bareman said in an interview with “She Loves The Gloves.” “Yes, of course, we as a team will do our best to use this time and get you as prepared as one can be on a week’s notice. Realistically, we don’t have much of a chance. But if the UFC offers you, say, this, this, or this – sure, think about it and maybe we can figure something out.

“I’ll watch the tape and design the game plan that would give us the best chance of getting the win. And so that’s what happened. The UFC came back with a good offer and he agreed. But I didn’t even have the time to get to Abu Dhabi and corner him. It all happened so fast, I had prior commitments that I couldn’t just cancel. I didn’t even watch the fight – I was too scared of what could happen.”

Bareman’s worst fear happened. Volkanovski was knocked out by Makhachev in the first round.

“I had a feeling it could be something like this,” Bareman said. “I obviously didn’t want to be right, but unfortunately, I was. Once again, in different circumstances, I really believe that even on a short notice the result may have been different. But of course, we have to also give credit to Islam. His skills are outstanding and he deserved that win.”

Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Ilia Topuria (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) in the UFC 298 main event Feb. 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie