Saturday night, the UFC returned to action with UFC 249. The stacked event was held in Jacksonville and featured Tony Ferguson facing off with Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejundo defending his title against Dominick Cruz. The viewers were excited, but they did notice one major difference in the broadcast. The UFC event was held without fans in attendance on Saturday night due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something that WWE has been doing in order to keep providing live events, and the UFC was following suit. There were no celebrities waving at the cameras, and there were no screaming fans cheering on their favorite fighters.
The athletes made the most of their opportunities and even had some good-natured fun. For example, Sam Alvey walked out and pointed to all of the empty seats as if they were still filled. The fans, on the other hand, had very mixed feelings. There were certainly many that absolutely despised the lack of noise during the pay-per-view. This was not a universal opinion, however, considering that many expressed excitement. They were happy to hear the coaches providing instructions during the various fights and felt that this was a new level of access.
I am absolutely loving this @ufc249 event. Surprisingly, the absence of the crowd has had very little effect on the entertainment value of this event. Live sports. Live entertainment. Damn I missed this!!!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 10, 2020
I honestly love these fights without a crowd, you get a whole different insight into he fight. #UFC249— ً (@OfficialPLAYZ) May 10, 2020
I kinda don’t mind not having the crowd if I’m being honest. #UFC249— Mini Montana👑 (Mini Sonnen) 🖤🤍💋 (@3Shorti3) May 10, 2020
#UFC249 is so weird without a crowd— JP (@itmeJP) May 10, 2020
These punches sound WAY more brutal with no crowd in the arena #UFC249— Metalcore Gatsby (@FRONZ1LLA) May 10, 2020
With no crowd he can hear the intensity of the fights. Love it #ufc249— Kyle Noke (@KyleNoke) May 10, 2020
How weird is it with no crowd n no abuse getting shouted #UFC249— Ⓝ Ⓐ (@nicoleabraham) May 10, 2020
Wow, best crowd I’ve ever seen at a mixed martial arts event! #UFC249— Nott Coker (@NottCoker) May 10, 2020
I am making 1000 % more noise while watching these fights and it’s 1000 % because there’s no crowd to do it for me #UFC249— The Strangle Squad (@_StrangleSquad) May 10, 2020
Waiting for the first fighter that wins their bout hopping the cage and just diving into empty seats in the crowd to celebrate with their fans. #UFC249— Tommy Toe Hold (@TommyToeHold) May 10, 2020
One of the funniest things about no crowd at #ufc249 is the coaches are trying to whisper to the fighter so the other team don’t hear the plan between rounds ha— Jason Quigley (@jay_quigley) May 10, 2020
I kinda hoped the absence of a crowd would lead to judges scoring being more accurate as a result of not being influenced by an audience. Boy was I wrong. #UFC249— Jordan Patu. (@Jordan_Patu) May 10, 2020
ah, the old 30-27, 27-30...
gotta think the crowd influenced the judges there#ufc249— Phil Murphy (@Phil_Sports) May 10, 2020