In an event being marketed as the only live sports event on earth, Chael Sonnen pushed through with Submission Underground 12 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Grappling events have less red tape and regulations compared to MMA events that have to be sanctioned by athletic commissions, but there are still government mandates about people gathering in venues. So Sonnen put on his promoter hat, made some adjustments, and made it happen.
The UFC veteran wasn’t actively promoting the location of his event prior, but it was eventually hosted in a converted grain silo in Oregon. To take extra precautions, Sunday’s closed-door event limited the people entering the venue, with Sonnen and others working in separate rooms.
“I’m in one room,” Sonnen said during the broadcast, where he also served as the event’s sole commentator. “Each athlete is in a different room. One cameraman on the floor, everything else is being done remotely. Doctor, referee, and soon to be two athletes.”
Sonnen also noted that the cage and everything else were sanitized before each match, and competitors had to wear long sleeved rash guards and compression spats.
COVID-19 testing wasn’t mentioned, although according to medical professionals, even if they did have negative test results from everyone, it may still not be sufficient enough. Not only are many carriers of the virus asymptomatic, one can test negative but then be positive the very next day due to its incubation period.
A couple of UFC stars also pulled out of the event, including Carlos Condit and Roxy Modafferi, who noted lack of training partners along with travel and health risks.
There were still a lot of those risks involved, especially in a contact sport, and while most of the original card was scrapped, Submission Underground 12 still continued as planned.
The main event was kept intact, with Craig Jones eventually submitting a UFC vet in Kevin Casey via heel hook. During the show, Sonnen also teased a future match up between the headliner in Jones and ADCC champ Vinny Magalhaes soon.
Full results are seen below (HT: MMA Junkie), along with a few clips and photos from the event.
Submission Underground 12 results:
Craig Jones def. Kevin Casey via submission (heel hook) – Regulation, 2:40
Ben Egli def. Jake Ellenberger via submission (Americana) – Regulation, 3:30
Juan Bernardo def. Bobby Emmons via submission (rear-naked choke) – Overtime 2, 0:35
Cris Lencioni def. Logan Skinner via submission (rear-naked choke) – Overtime 1, 1:58
Matt Stringham def. Joe Levasseur submission (standing guillotine choke) – Regulation, 0:28
Alex Larmey def. Thomas Patrick via escape time – Full time
Jake Smith def. George Martinez via escape time – Full time
Don Stoner def. Lee Flores via submission (rear-naked choke) – Regulation, 2:34
Cody Kenaga def. John Simon via escape time – Full time