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Here’s how things looked at the eerily empty UFC Brasilia event – MMA Mania

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Saturday night marked the first UFC event held since the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus / COVID 19 virus to be a global pandemic. While many other sports leagues have made the decision to shut down until the full scale of the current outbreak and its effects can be measured, UFC president Dana White has declared that his organization’s fights will continue, barring a complete government mandated quarantine.

So UFC Fight Night 170 in Brasilia went ahead, but without a crowd to witness the fights. Instead, the event was held in an empty Ginasio Nilson Nelson. Only the fighters, their corners, and event staff were on hand, creating a very different vibe than the one typically generated by the 11,000 screaming Brazilians that would normally be in attendance.

The UFC did a good job keeping the lighting down and masking the fact that fighters were competing in an empty arena. But certain broadcast shots and behind the scenes footage tell the story of the first UFC Coronavirus event.

Take a look:

”I had already seen a fight change on the day of the event, an athlete being prohibited from fighting hours before the fight, changing the state event during the week,” David Corrhea wrote. “But today was the first time I saw fights in an empty arena. And it was really weird!!”

The UFC’s own social media accounts shared this video:

UFC staff made the best of the situation with jokes. Here’s UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard:

And true to his word…

The event ran smoothly, with just a few hiccups … like Michael Bisping forgetting there was no one there to ‘make some noise’ for the winning fighter.

And the lack of a crowd didn’t seem to affect the quality of the fights much. Renato Moicano and Gilbert Burns scored quick wins while Charles Oliveira and Kevin Lee went to war for two rounds before “Do Bronx” locked up a choke early in the third round to earn the victory. If it weren’t for the crickets, you’d never know no one else was there to witness it.

With everything going into lockdown for the next couple of weeks, we imagine UFC fights in empty venues are going to become the new normal. What a strange time to be alive.

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Greatest Moments of NHL Season … So Far: first round, matchup 5 – NHL.com

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The 2019-20 NHL season had many incredible moments before it paused March 12 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and now fans can decide which one was the best.

The Greatest Moments of the NHL season … So Far have been placed into a bracket of 64 entries, and fans will vote on one matchup per day, ultimately deciding the greatest moment up until this point.

Fans can vote on Twitter and Instagram each day from noon until 10 a.m. ET the next day. Each day the winner of that matchup will be revealed, and a new set of moments will go head-to-head.

Though fans will have the ultimate say, two NHL.com staff members will weigh in on each matchup to give his or her opinion on which one should advance to the next round.

In the matchup on Thursday, Pekka Rinne scoring a goalie goal for the Nashville Predators defeated the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl.

The matchup Friday pits a special reward for a young Minnesota Wild fan on Oct. 27, against Cale Makar setting a Colorado Avalanche record for most goals in a season by a rookie defenseman in a 5-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 18.

Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

As someone who’s gone to sporting events for 35 years, I’ve never caught a foul ball at a baseball game let alone a puck that flew into the crowd. If I did, I’m not sure I would have shared with anyone. Certainly not as an 11-year-old. Which is why what Emily Wiltzius did that night in Minnesota was so impressive, getting two pucks and without a second thought giving each one to younger kids around her. It was especially cool to see the way the Wild, led by Jason Zucker, rewarded her for her kindness. As a parent, it also serves as a wonderful teaching moment that if you do good things, people are watching and you can be rewarded.

Nick Cotsonika, columnist

It’s not just that Makar set the Avalanche record for most goals in a season by a rookie defenseman. It’s that he reached 11 goals in 40 games, less than half a season’s worth (the previous record holder, John-Michael Liles, needed 79 games in 2003-04). It’s that he did it in a 5-3 win against the St. Louis Blues, the defending Stanley Cup champions and leaders in the Western Conference at the time. And it’s that he showed the awareness, poise and skill that has made him a leading contender for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the League’s top rookie. He noticed the defenders were tired, took advantage of the opportunity to find open ice, and scored on a wrist shot through a screen.

Video: STL@COL: Makar scores to set franchise rookie mark

Tweet from @NHL: Pekka Rinne’s goalie goal moves on! 👏Who are you taking today: a patient young @mnwild fan or Cale Makar’s (@Cmakar16) team record-setting season? VOTE ������

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Report: Trump hopes to have fans back at sports games by end of summer – Sportsnet.ca

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U.S. President Donald Trump told major-league sports commissioners on a call Saturday afternoon that he hoped to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Trump reportedly also said he believes the NFL season “should start on time in September.”

The call included 13 league commissioners, among them the NHL’s Gary Bettman, NBA’s Adam Silver, MLB’s Rob Manfred and NFL’s Roger Goodell.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted a statement following the completion of Trump’s call.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters later Saturday that he doesn’t anticipate sports being played with fans in the stands by September in his state, contrary to Trump’s reported comments.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the plan for the call was “to discuss charitable contributions and how the leagues would help those dealing with coronavirus.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought most of the sports world to a halt for the last three weeks, as only White’s UFC and MacMahon’s WWE are the only organizations still hosting events.

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Kobe, Duncan, Garnett headline 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class – TSN

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Kobe Bryant was already immortal. Now he’s officially a Hall of Famer as well.

And he’s got plenty of elite company in the 2020 class.

Bryant and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group announced Saturday as this year’s class of enshrinees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

They all got into the Hall in their first year of eligibility, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich finally got his call, as did longtime Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton.

They were the eight finalists who were announced in February, and the panel of 24 voters who were tasked to decide who merited selection wound up choosing them all. Also headed to the Hall this year: former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, selected as a direct-elect by the international committee.

“He was the head of FIBA and this was a way to honour him,” Colangelo said. “It was a special thing done through that committee.”

Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, about three weeks before the Hall of Fame said — as if there was going to be any doubt — that he was a finalist. Duncan and Garnett were also widely perceived to be locks to be part of this class; they were both 15-time NBA All-Stars, and Bryant was an 18-time selection.

Bryant was also a five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, just as Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs.

“This is an incredibly special class, for many reasons,” Hall of Fame Chairman and enshrinee Jerry Colangelo said.

Catchings was a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medallist . Tomjanovich, who had overwhelming support from NBA peers who couldn’t understand why it took so long for his selection, was a five-time All-Star as a player, guided Houston to back-to-back titles and took the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.

Mulkey has three NCAA titles as a coach, won two others as a player and had Baylor in position to vie for another championship this season had the global coronavirus pandemic not forced the shutdown of virtually every sport around the globe. Stevens has coached for 43 years and is a five-time Division II coach of the year. Sutton won more than 800 games in nearly four decades, and Baumann was one of the most powerful voices in international basketball until his death in 2018.

The enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, is scheduled for Aug. 29. Should the pandemic force a delay, there is a tentative plan for an October ceremony as well.

For this year, largely because of the star power of this class, the Hall chose to enact a one-year suspension of direct elections from the Veteran’s, Women’s Veteran’s, Early African-American Pioneers and Contributors categories.

With Bryant, Duncan and Garnett as perhaps the top NBA trio to ever enter simultaneously, the Hall wanted to make sure that no enshrinee would be overlooked.

“We didn’t need to water it down,” Colangelo said. “Next year is another year for many.”

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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