Here’s What A Professional MMA Event Looks Like With No Fans And Officials Wearing Masks (Hint: It’s Weird)
The company’s most recent event, UFC 249, ended up being canceled after two of the headliners UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former UFC Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas backed out and Disney/ESPN told White to shut it down.
However, Russian MMA promotion M-1 Global recently held an event in Minsk, Belarus with no fans in attendance and the officials (and ring girls) wearing masks. And it looked really strange.
Of note, M-1 Global and the UFC signed a deal in 2018 for the Russian MMA organization to become a farm league for the UFC. This would lead one to believe that means Dana White has been keeping a close eye on the goings-on there during the worldwide pandemic.
As for why M-1 Global founder Vadim Finkelchtein, much like White, is continuing to hold events while the rest of the sports world sits and waits for the all clear, he said, “You all know what the situation is now in the country and in the world. People are forced to sit at home. In the field of music and art, online concerts and performances have gained popularity, for art lovers there is a large selection of such broadcasts, but for sports lovers there is nothing at all. We can see from the comments how boys who are not interested in concerts missed out on sporting events. Gyms are closed, even street sports are banned. That’s it for the sports audience, so we decided to make a gift and hold a closed online tournament.”
M-1 Global currently has plans to host more closed online events on April 17, 18, and 25.