UFC President, Dana Whyte, got his wish to restart Mixed Martial Art competition in the US as UFC 249 was held in an empty stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday night, and was aired live on ESPN amid the Coronavirus pandemic in the US that has killed 79,696 people as at Sunday morning.
The UFC competition is the first major sport event to hold in the US since the last two months and the fighters had to do without crowd jeers or noise.
Few broadcast and production personnel were permitted to watch the action, along with the fighters, their teams and officials. while VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena – the place where the event took place was eerie quiet on Saturday night unlike the past where the arena is usually filled with roaring fans .
Doctors had to treat injured fighters wearing face masks and all the fighters and staff involved in the fight had to go through extensive testing for Covid-19.
US President Donald Trump appeared partway through the TV broadcast in a taped message to tell the audience it was time to resume professional sports.
‘I want to congratulate [president] Dana White and the UFC. They’re going to have a big match!’ the Commander-in-chief excitedly stated.
‘We love it. We think it’s important – get the sports leagues back. Let’s play. We do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back, and congratulations to Dana White and the UFC.’
More photos below.