Former UFC middleweight champion and current analyst Michael Bisping was not deterred by the decision to hold the UFC Fight Night 170 card in an empty arena in Brazil, saying the fights were "fantastic."
Per TMZ, the Count compared the atmosphere and layout to that of the Ultimate Fighter and the Contender series: "The fights were fantastic. They were really good. ... We've done it before. It's like The Ultimate Fighter, The Contender, there's not much difference. Obviously, there was no crowd so it wasn't the same. But, the fights were fantastic. They delivered."
(Warning: video contains profanity.)
The UFC opted not to follow the example of other major sporting organisations like the NBA, MLB and NHL, who have all suspended competition because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the event went ahead without any fans in attendance at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia.
President Dana White explained the decision in a short announcement. He also said the plan, for now, is to go ahead with all UFC live events, though locations may change:
UFC Fight Night 170 saw Charles Oliveira submit Kevin Lee in the main event, while Gilbert Burns knocked out Demian Maia in the co-main event.
The next event on the schedule is Fight Night 171, scheduled to take place on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London and featuring Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards in a main event with major implications for the welterweight division.
Woodley has just one loss in his last eight fights, which included four defences of his title until he lost to current champion Kamaru Usman. Edwards is on an eight-fight win streak and beat former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in his last outing.
The UFC calendar is stacked with events in the coming weeks, including two more Fight Night cards before UFC 249 on April 19, headlined by the long-awaited clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Four previous scheduled bouts between the two have fallen through.