The pandemic has sidelined plans for a Squamish MMA fighter to compete in Dana White's Contender Series, but Jamey-Lyn Horth says she's determined to find another way to make it into the UFC.
Horth was set to fight in Las Vegas for the show in November, but American border officials didn't grant her a visa due to what they considered to be a lack of international recognition. Regulations have been tighter ever since COVID-19 swept the world.
Horth said it was strange, considering that it's possible to fight in some other American MMA leagues without getting a visa.
"It was just another step for me to get closer to being in the UFC. It's still not something that's out of reach," Horth told The Chief.
"I'm going to continue to stay ready."
It's an unfortunate development, as an appearance on the Contender Series would've been a boon to Horth's career.
In the show, aspiring UFC mixed-martial artists fight in matches, vying to impress the owner of the top MMA league.
Fighters that White deems exceptional are awarded contracts in the UFC.
While at the moment, it seems the main entrance to the league has shut for Horth, there still may be a way in through the back door.
Horth said she plans on finding matches with American leagues such as Legacy Fight Alliance and the Cage Fury Fighting Championships.
Gaining recognition in those smaller promotions may allow her to get enough clout to get a shot at the UFC.
Alternatively, Horth said that there's always a chance that UFC officials may simply call her for another opportunity.
The UFC is also holding fights in Abu Dhabi, and it will likely be easier to travel there.
In the meantime, she said she's continuing to train hard.
Horth said she quit her full-time job, so fighting has become her 9-to-5, settling her into a steady rhythm of "eat, sleep and train."
The show goes on, despite COVID-19. Her regimen remains the same, though with a significantly reduced social circle, which happens to also include her brother-in-law, local UFC fighter Cole Smith.
"I've always trained as a professional, even when I was an amateur," she said.
All the while, Horth said she's grateful for the support that Squamish has been giving her.
Speaking after her teammates surprised her with doughnuts, Horth expressed gratitude for the love that locals have been showing her.
"These last three months for me — yeah, it's been pretty tough," she said, getting audibly emotional.
She said many people have been checking up on her to ask about her next fight, and it's been hard telling everyone that things have been put off.
"A lot of people invest their time and their energy toward me, and they want to see me succeed. So, like, I always fight for myself but it's hard — this community just makes my motivation so much more. I'm born and raised here, you know what I mean? This town's important to me."