There was blood, upsets, retirements and nobody there to see it. The UFC prevailed Saturday night as the rest of the sports world remains paused amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As there is with anything else, sports or not, some were unsatisfied watching UFC without fans in the stands. But majority rules, and the event seemed to be a success, as seen with reactions on social media.
Without the noise of fans, kicks and punches clearly were heard over TV screens and streaming devices. Coaching could be heard, too, giving fighting fans an inside look at the sport. There's no doubt crowd noise helps the viewing pleasure of a major fight, but it's not the main draw to watching mixed martial arts.
This is much different than, say, the WWE, whose main purpose is entertainment. It was beyond odd watching any clips of wrestlers trying to pump up a "crowd." When Sam Alvey high-fived "fans" in Jacksonville, Fla., though, it was funny. UFC viewers tune in for the fight, not the show.
Baseball-starved fans are staying up late into the night or waking up much before the crack of dawn to watch the Korean Baseball Organization. There are no fans in attendance at KBO games, but some teams are using cardboard cutouts in the stands.
the KBO has cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands and it's kind of genius 😂 pic.twitter.com/g5CcXDWict— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 10, 2020
Changes will need to be made without fans in attendance. That could be allowing doctored crowd noise, music being played or a number of different options. It will be easy to watch golf or NASCAR without fans live at the events. Regarding sports like baseball, basketball, football and soccer, fans at home must be patient.
It won't be perfect. That's not the point, though. Every day is a new obstacle in these tough times, and fans must adapt just as athletes do throughout their respective games to be successful.
When sports safely can be played, it's almost a guarantee fans won't be allowed inside stadiums and arenas. There will be odds scenes, camera manipulations and awkward silences.
And that's OK.
The success rate of watching games without fans in person will be a case-by-case basis. But we'll adapt, we have to.
Sometimes that's just how it goes.