For the last two months the world has been in shambles, economy’s are failing, people are dying, and the normalcy we’re used to as a culture is gone. Part of that normalcy we’re accustomed to is the entertainment that sporting events bring into our lives. For me personally sports have always been an escape, and without them I feel lost. I’ve been so desperate for any sort of sporting competition I’ve watched Russian table tennis on live stream, and even stayed up late to watch Korean baseball. It has been a scary time for many people and sports are one of the least of our issues currently, but with the UFC putting on their event this weekend it brought a lot of positivity and normalcy back to our lives.
UFC 249 was initially scheduled to go on April 18th in Brooklyn, but due to scheduling issues and the looming pandemic it was pushed back until this weekend. Dana White and the UFC put on an impressive show with some amazing fights, two of which were for world titles. Some of the biggest names in the sport participated such as Francis Ngannou, Henry Cejudo, Tony Ferguson, and Justin Gaethje. The UFC brought back that normalcy for a night, by giving us one of the biggest and best cards in the history of the organization.
Jacksonville, Florida was the host to this event, the staff was limited and there were no fans. It was wild to watch, as these monsters kicked each other in the temple there was no background noise besides Joe Rohan screaming “OHHHHHH!”. All things considered the UFC did a fantastic job, and pretty much gave the blueprint on how to run events safely and efficiently during this global pandemic. Everyone that was involved was tested, there was limited staff, masks were mandatory, and all media responsibilities were done remotely. Their protocols went so well that they were actually able to catch that one of their fighters had been infected with the virus so that they could cancel his fight before a massive issue started.
The response to this event on social media was astounding. Usually no matter how great something is, some jerk online tries to ruin it, but this weekend it seemed as though everyone was grateful for the hard work that went into making this amazing event come to life. The fights could’ve been subpar, and people still would’ve been happy just to be able to entertain themselves and watch some fights. The UFC didn’t want that to be the case, they wanted to Wow the audience with the best possible cards they could have and they certainly did. We saw knockouts, bloody brawls, upsets, retirements, and new champions, it was an event that had literally a little bit of everything.
Hopefully other sports leagues do their best to mimic what the UFC displayed this weekend. Sports can come back, it just needs to be done the correct and safest way possible. Sports coming back is a very small step for society, but it will bring back some of that normalcy that we all love so much. I thank the UFC for bringing sports back to everyone, and I can’t wait to see how other leagues respond in the coming months. Next stop is fight island.
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