It all seems too strange to be real. Maybe it wasn’t real. Maybe Charles Oliveira didn’t put on his best all-around performance to date. Maybe Gilbert Burns didn’t become a legitimate welterweight threat. Maybe Renato Carneiro didn’t remind us why he was such a highly regarded prospect for so long. Maybe my social distance-addled brain just invented UFC Fight Night 170 in a fit of wishful delirium.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship no doubt wanted to make it feel normal. Upcoming events were plugged and previewed with the same built-in assumption of certainty. Fighters walked out the same as they always have, entrance music and all. Octagon announcer Joe Martinez still bellowed grand introductions for everyone, adding extra emphasis for the Brazilian hometown heroes, only for the sound of his voice to impotently ricochet around the empty arena. Commentator Michael Bisping reflexively ended a post-fight interview by telling someone, anyone to “make some noise!” A few times, you could clearly see a bug—a moth perhaps—flap across the cage in front of the cameras. Even a genuinely good and exciting UFC event was just another place with lights on…Like