UFC 249 ended like we thought it would — spectacularly. It was an incredible show filled with exciting fights, unexpected moments and all of the things that make mixed martial arts so great.
Getting to the starting line, though, was a problem, and that has nothing to do with when the card was originally scheduled for April 18.
When news broke on Friday that middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and two of his cornermen had tested positive for COVID-19, it was like a kick to the gut.
Without any other information and knowing only that Souza had the coronavirus and was out of his hotly anticipated fight with Uriah Hall, it felt like this horrible year was going to continue to take its vengeance out on us.
Surely, it seemed, the UFC 249 fight card would not go on.
We’re used to that by now — five UFC events were postponed prior to Saturday because of the COVID-19 pandemic — but on paper, this was one of the great cards the UFC had ever assembled and it appeared that it might be slipping through our grasp.
T here were those who, justifiably, wondered if we should have ever gotten to this point. Coronavirus cases around the country are continuing to pop up and at this stage, there is no way to guarantee someone isn’t going to catch it no matter how much testing is done.
But people are beginning to break their governors’ stay-at-home orders because we’re going stir crazy, and t here have been no live sports to keep us company.
As Anthony Smith, the light heavyweight contender who headlines Wednesday’s show against Glover Teixeira told Yahoo Sports, “You can only watch the replay of the 1995 National Championship game so many times.”
He’s right. And finally, the UFC brought live sports back.