There’s been mixed reactions to the UFC hosting events amid the coronavirus pandemic, with some fighters struggling to adapt but others treating the opportunity to train and fight under a global shutdown as a blessing in disguise.
UFC veteran Alistair Overeem is among those who welcomed the new challenge, telling MMA Fighting in the UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight press conference that he really enjoyed fighting in an empty arena and that training during the pandemic gave him some newfound motivation.
“Strange, I was fired up about it,” Overeem said following his second round TKO of Walt Harris in the UFC on ESPN 8 main event . “This was fight No. 92. It kind of reminded me of my earlier fights. I have to go all the way back to ‘97 when there were like 200 or fewer people in the audience. This was a little bit different though and I don’t know, it motivated me.”
“During a pandemic, first time, so to me it was very interesting tonight,” he added. “No audience. Still you got tensions, still you’ve got the nerves going through you fight day. I don’t know but it was different. It was cool. I liked it. I enjoyed it.”
Overeem, 40, is 3-1 in his last four fights and, as of writing, ranked #8 in the UFC heavyweight rankings. ‘The Reem’ finished Harris shortly after dropping him with a head kick and a follow-up left hand in the second round.