Joe Rogan gaffe highlights unusual UFC 249 return

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Joe Rogan amused UFC fans by briefly forgetting there was no live audience for UFC 249. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Coaches yelling, fighters gasping for air and the unmistakable sound of gloves smacking flesh - all the hallmarks of a UFC event where there, but there was still something missing, as Joe Rogan found out.

UFC 249 became the first mainstream live sporting event to go ahead in weeks, since the global coronavirus pandemic first took hold in March and forced major sporting codes across the world to suspend their seasons.

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The event, held in Jacksonville in northern Florida, had no spectators, but the first UFC broadcast since March 7 caught ringside commentator Joe Rogan off-guard.

The MMA fanatic and podcast host stepped into the ring to interview Ryan Spann after his preliminary bout victory over Sam Alvey, noting the eerie nature of UFC fights without fans roaring in the background.

Rogan was clearly too quick to shake off the live broadcasting rust for his own good, accidentally presenting Spann to the non-existent crowd to conclude their interview.

“Ryan Spann … to no one in the audience!” Rogan said, quickly realising his error.

UFC world reacts to brutal Niko Price TKO

It wouldn’t be a UFC event without a gruesome injury, and Brazilian-born fighter Vicente Luque brought the goods in his fight against Niko Price.

Both fighters went on the offensive for the majority of the bout, but it was Luque who came out on top, doling out some serious damage to Price in the third and final round.

The match referee stepped in mid-way through the final frame when Price’s eye began to swell significantly after copping a big left hook from Luque.

Fans were shocked by the gruesome blow, with many taking to social media to react to the ugly spectacle.

On the main card, Greg Hardy claimed a unanimous decision victory over Yorgan de Castro, while Calvin Cattar triumphed over Jeremy Stevens via a second round TKO.

Francis Ngannou is set to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a heavyweight matchup, while co-headliners Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz (bantamweight) and Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje (interim lightweight title) are yet to come.