Peter Barrett doesn’t think it’s time to for fighters to fight.

One of the only signees off Dana White’s Contender Series Season 3 yet to debut in the UFC, Barrett (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was originally scheduled to make his inaugural promotional walk at UFC on ESPN+ 31 in April 25. However, coronavirus restrictions muddied the waters, leaving Barrett without his opponent Danny Henry. The event was ultimately postponed.

Despite UFC president Dana White promising fighters on postponed cards get first dibs to compete first, Barrett isn’t interested – at least until the world’s current state gets more normal.

“Training for a fight under these conditions isn’t right,” Barrett told MMA Junkie on Saturday. “I’m in a unique situation where I live with a first responder. Any adult can make the decision to come into my house to train with me. But at what point is that a cross-benefit analysis where someone can go home and get their mom sick? We wouldn’t know if it came out of my house or not. That’d just be something terrible to comprehend or grasp your head around. There’s a chance where me being selfish about wanting to train got one of my friend’s grandparents sick. That’d be just horrible.”

Financially, mentally, and emotionally, Barrett is conflicted, he said. While he’s itching to make his long-awaited UFC debut, the 33-year-old featherweight isn’t in a position to do so. An open book on mental health and wellness, Barrett expressed the stress that the past few weeks have caused.

“I take my hat off to guys like Calvin (Kattar),” Barrett said. “Every fight in the UFC should be the toughest fight of your life. He’s cracked into the top 10. He’s fighting Jeremy Stephens. He was slated for UFC 249. Now, he’s on May 9. That takes some (expletive) scrotal fortitude to get through stuff like that. You need a very strong will. You need to be very disciplined. I’m not saying I don’t have those things, but it took a lot out of me to accept the situation I was in and make the best out of it. It’s crazy.”

Unlike the fighters who were set to compete on the canceled UFC on ESPN+ 29 card, athletes booked for UFC on ESPN 8, UFC on ESPN+ 30 and UFC on ESPN+ 31 have not been told they’ll receive any compensation for their delayed bouts. Barrett is hopeful UFC president White discusses this issue during his coronavirus athlete information meetings Monday.

“What would really be awesome is if they talked about some compensation about the 40 guys who were getting ready to fight up until the week before UFC 249 got canceled,” Barrett said. “We all had contracts and dates signed. We put the work in. We were sacrificing relationships. We were telling the government and local municipalities to screw off. We were still training. We were still getting outside, getting roadwork. A lot of guys are probably still training in small groups behind closed doors.

“Obviously, me being a debuting UFC guy, my voice doesn’t carry much weight. I think compensation for those two cards needs to be a conversation. (Don’t) just push the cards up to a later date. We signed contracts for the 19th. We signed contracts for UFC 249 and UFC on ESPN+ 31. Those two cards we were training for until last week. We were (cutting) weight until last week.”

Seeing other fighters try to prove they’ll fight “anybody, anywhere, anytime” makes no sense to Barrett. The Massachusetts native would like to see more fighters speak up and be honest about their situations.

“Khabib (Nurmagomedov) is like the only big name who really went on the public line to advocate for it after being (expletive) around for three weeks about not knowing who he’s going to fight,” Barrett said. “If more guys at the top came out with that sentiment, I think lower guys would feel better about feeling that way. I think everybody is afraid to publicly voice your opinions about it.”

The goal of the UFC, Barrett thinks, is to be on the same pedestal as other major leagues sports organizations. If it wants to be mentioned among the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, Barrett said the UFC should set the same standards for their athletes. No other league would expect their athletes to go through what UFC fighters are.

“The UFC is a sport,” Barrett said. “It’s not a bloodsport any more, right? You want to treat us like athletes, you treat us like athletes. I put this on my Twitter. Fighters fight? Yeah, if you want to go slam a couple pints at the bar and go get in a bar fight for 30 seconds, by all means fighters fight. But we’re high-level athletes. We should be treated the way you treat guys in the NFL, the way the guys in the NHL, the ways the guys in the MLB, the way every other pro athlete is treated.

“If they’re not training with their team for six to eight weeks, you’re not going to throw the Patriots starting 11 on the frontline and say, ‘Go play a game. You guys know the sport of football.’ No one is going to allow something like that to happen. To see it happening in MMA is just kind of ridiculous, especially where we’re trying to get established as a major league sport. Treat us like major league athletes. Expect us to perform when the situations are right. Yeah, everybody stay in shape. Nobody get fat. Don’t sit around in the basement in the corner eating Twinkies and Ho Hos, but to expect guys to be fight ready in this condition? It’s just ridiculous.”

To hear the full interview with Barrett, check out the video below.

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