COVID-19 introduced a great deal of hardship into our lives in 2020. Society was separated by social distancing, mask wearing became the norm, and the days looked dark and uncertain. The UFC pushed on though and made life a little brighter for fight fans. Imagine a drum roll in your head.
The UFC being the first sport to return during the pandemic is The Scrap’s best 2020 moment.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Holland fights, wins 5 times and earns nickname “Mr. Big Mouth”, Cody Stamann wins at UFC 250 after brother’s death and Kyogi Horiguchi returns from ACL injury.
When COVID halted all sports around the world, the UFC promised to be back first. The organization came up with a 25-page document, introducing health and safety protocols to get back up and running. UFC 249 took place on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida’s Veterans Memorial Arena.
Dana White to @bokamotoESPN: "We will be the first sport back. Fight island is real. It's a real thing. The infrastructure's being built right now, and that's really going to happen. And it will be on ESPN."
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) April 9, 2020
The event not only marked the return of high-profile sports. But it also brought with it a completely new version of a sporting event. Fans were absent, everyone involved had to undergo COVID-19 testing, judges and broadcasters worked from separate tables. Fans watched on at home as the cage floor and padding of the octagon were cleaned in between fights. After missing the sport for two months, UFC returned with a vengeance and treated us to three shows in eight days.
Putting on forty-one events in 2020, the UFC lead the way for other professional sports. The UFC set the blueprint to resume sport and brought us back to some sense of normalcy. With innovative ideas, such as a mysterious Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, and their ability to continue on with Dana White’s Contender Series inside the APEX, the UFC gave us something to look forward to in our uncertain lives during the pandemic.