Last night, live sports returned in the United States at UFC 249. Held in an empty arena without fans, with a load of coronavirus prevention guidelines and testing, some normalcy returned to the sports world.
President Donald Trump addressed UFC fans during the broadcast in a video from the White House.
"I'm standing in a very important spot, right outside the Oval Office, and you're looking at the White House behind me," Trump said. "It's an honor to be here and an honor to salute you. I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They're going to have a big match.
"We love it. We think it's important. Get the sports league back. Let's play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back."
It's worth noting that UFC light heavyweight Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout with Uriah Hall was pulled from the event, but the card continued otherwise. It's also worth noting that Trump and UFC president Dana White have a close personal relationship, with White speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
Trump has reportedly held calls with the commissioners of the major sports leagues about how to get sports going again. As of now, the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons are suspended, and there isn't a clear return date or plan in mind. Reports of options have crept out, but nothing concrete is in place.
The NFL released its schedule in early May and is planning on starting in early September, as usual. However, there are contingency plans in place if the season needs to be delayed.
President Donald Trump calls for sports to resume play at UFC 249 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago