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Alistair Overeem Was “Fired up”, Fighting With no Fans in Attendance at UFC Florida

It’s been interesting to see the various reactions the MMA world has had to having UFC cards with no fans in attendance. So, what was Alistair Overeem’s [1] take?

Who has fought in front of massive audiences during his storied career? Well, as it turns out, the “Reem” enjoyed throwing hands at UFC Florida [2], with no one in attendance.

Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

Overeem was “fired up”, fighting behind closed doors

The decorated heavyweight faced Walt Harris in the headliner of last Wednesday’s UFC card, which took place in Jacksonville, Florida. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans were allowed to attend the May 16th event.

If fans had been in attendance, there would have plenty of cheering, gasps and roars. Harris tagged Overeem not long into the fight and bloodied the heavyweight. The veteran fighter weathered the storm, however, and he came storming back to stop Harris in round two.

So, did Overeem have any issues with the fact no fans were there to watch his latest win? Evidently not.

While talking about the fact UFC Florida took place behind closed doors afterward, the 40 year-old said this (quotes via MMA Fighting [3]).

“Strange, I was fired up about it,” Overeem said. “This was fight No. 92. It kind of reminded me of my earlier fights.

I have to go all the way back to ‘97 when there were like 200 or fewer people in the audience. This was a little bit different though and I don’t know, it motivated me.

“During a pandemic, first time, so to me it was very interesting tonight. No audience.

Still you got tensions, still you’ve got the nerves going through you fight day. I don’t know but it was different.

It was cool. I liked it. I enjoyed it.”

Surprising? Not really?

So, some people may be surprised to read this, considering Overeem’s legacy and how many fans he has. Case in point, he has over 500,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 900,000 on Instagram.

But, Overeem isn’t saying he doesn’t care about fans, or that he doesn’t get buzzed by their reaction when they’re at events. He’s competed in nearly 100 professional bouts, between his kickboxing and MMA career, so, it was just a memorable change for him.

All this aside, it will be interesting to see what comes next for Overeem. Following the pivotal win, Overeem relayed he’s hoping to make one more title run [4], before he hangs up the gloves.

At UFC Florida, “Reem” was fighting for the first time since December, when Jairzinho Rozenstruik scored come from behind, last minute victory over him.