The UFC made a smashing comeback, pulling out all the stops, from rigorous medical testing to banning an audience. The promotion put a series of events together with no hiccups. However, like every other alternative, an arena without an audience comes with its baggage. Jim Ross gets into the details of the same with Ariel Helwani.
Along with several changes that come hand in hand with this unique circumstance, many fighters have pointed out something rather unusual about fighting in an arena without a screaming audience.
Commentators, like Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, breaking down every punch, kick, and takedown in real-time makes the sport exciting. However, fighters and their cornermen often find an odd piece of advice from the commentary team that helps them improve their performance.
Jim Ross details how a novel burden falls on the shoulders of the commentators. Their job now may make or break a fighter’s chance against his/her opponent.
“They understand now [that] they have a little different role. What they say is not only good for the viewer, hopefully. But it’s going to be heard by the camp, the fighters [and] the coaches. If DC gave some advice, and the guy says, ‘He’s right, we need to do this.’ I think it’s another interesting element of the empty arena concept,” Jim Ross told Ariel Helwani.
Fighters putting it all on the line in an empty arena will cling to anything that gives them an edge over their opponents. And at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, it came in the form of advice from their commentators.
For instance, Carla Esparza and Michelle Waterson went toe to toe on the preliminary card at UFC 249, and the American strawweight claims she could hear DC going at it on the commentary desk.
“It’s crazy because he was kind of criticizing me and part of me was like, ‘Hey, like, that’s messed up. Why are you saying that?’ But I was like, ‘That’s actually a good idea.’ He was like, ‘She’s just striking and just going for takedowns.’ I kind of made some adjustments in there. It’s crazy. We were definitely able to hear them in there,” said Esparza after the fight.
Former NFL star Greg Hardy claims that DC helped him bag the win against Yorgan de Castro. DC suggested a series of changes that could help Hardy see the fight through and win via unanimous decision.
“Thank god for not having the crowd. Shout out to DC, I heard him tell me to go out and check it and I need to figure out how to check it. So I started trying to check him. And game-changer,” said Hardy.
This comes as a boon to many fighters and a bane to those who perish under those fighters. Several fans claim that this could be a cheat code and an unfair advantage. However, since the practice is in its infancy, it is certainly up for debate.
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