According to the promotion’s official Instagram channel, the behind-closed-doors event, named “Heroes of the Black Square” was to be run “under the most stringent conditions as determined by trained medical doctors,” with “all fighters and participants tested and monitored for COVID-19 by trained medical professionals.”
The event’s name may have been a reference to the black face masks worn by everyone in the arena, with the notable exception of the two competing fighters inside the ring.
The ring announcer undertook his duties from behind a mask and the official timekeeper minded the bell while wearing a similar mask. The medics and cornermen at ringside were also bedecked in the same facial coverings. Even the ring girls were wearing them.
The event featured eight fights, and was streamed live across the world on the ClashTV app, as well as on TV networks in Russia as the Belarusian capital played host to the only live MMA in the world this week.
In the main event, Belarusian middleweight Denis Maher claimed a first-round submission victory as he finished Valijon Serdarov inside two minutes with a front choke.
The co-main saw an equally impressive finish, as Vladislav Novitzky defeated Maxim Rzheusky via first-round armbar.
But despite the impressive displays inside the ring, the bizarre setting, and the use of the striking face masks, led to reaction online from those following the action.
“We are living in an exceptionally weird time,” wrote one commenter on Twitter, while another stated, “The masks are pretty hilarious.”
The promotion plans to host more shows this week as they continue to press forward with their schedule amid the global coronavirus pandemic.