UFC wins the FanSided MMA Award for Best Promotion of 2020.
The sports world was derailed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sporting events were canceled, leaving everyone unsure when sports would return. From the very beginning of the pandemic, UFC President Dana White told everyone that the promotion would be the first organization to return to action. White’s bold proclamation came true and that is one of the main reasons that the UFC won the FanSided MMA Awards for Best Promotion.
The UFC’s last event before the shutdown was March 14, in front of zero fans in Brazil. After being unable to hold events for five weeks, the promotion returned on May 9, with UFC 249. The event was an overwhelming success, with Justin Gaethje stepping in for Khabib Nurmagomedov and soundly beating Tony Ferguson. UFC 249 proved to be an incredible draw for the promotion and an excellent return to action.
From their return until their final card of the year on Dec. 19, the UFC had a fight card every Saturday with the lone exception of May 23. Almost every card delivered a memorable fight or highlight. During that time, the UFC also ran a couple of Wednesday night cards and Dana White’s Contender Series. While other promotions struggled in their efforts to return, the UFC provided the entire sports world a blueprint on how to successfully return to play and limit the transmission of COVID-19. None of it would have been possible without the incredible people the UFC have behind the scenes that worked around the clock to ensure every event was produced flawlessly.
In addition to their successful return to action, the UFC had a tremendous year filled with exciting fights and memorable knockouts and submissions. In one of the greatest women’s fights in MMA history, Weili Zhang defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. At UFC Fight Island 5, Joaquin Buckley’s spinning back kick, knockout of Impa Kasanganay went viral and might be one of the greatest knockouts ever.
Other memorable moments that the UFC gave fans this year included, Nurmagomedov walking away undefeated after he submitted Gaethje at UFC 254. Kevin Holland won five times in seven months and produced four memorable knockout finishes. Deiveson Figueiredo became a bonafide superstar in 2020. Figueiredo fought four times, all for the flyweight title, recording three stoppage victories. In perhaps his most impressive performance, Figueiredo returned to the Octagon four weeks after his previous title defense and successfully defended his title again, against Brandon Moreno in an instant classic.