So far the world of MMA has pretty much been just the UFC since the relaxing of countries' rules. And while the fights for the most part have been good, something still seems a "bit off". That would be no crowd noise.
It's been quite a different experience for those that don't train in the sport of MMA, have never been to some regional company in a dive bar, or have less of an understanding of the intricacies of MMA. None of those things are bad by the way. It's just not every MMA "fan" gets every little thing about the complex sport.
In gyms, and clubs around the world, MMA fighters pay close attention to their coaches (at least their coaches hope they do). Across the local MMA scenes, to the big bright lights of the UFC, Bellator, Invicta, One FC, and all points in between; they also thrive off of the crowd. That is an undeniable fact. Whether heel or face, fighters live for that "attention pop". They are after all, entertainers.
We've now seen the UFC in Jacksonville Florida and at it's APEX home. They make their cage walk with their team to their walk out music yes, but that's it. Even Dana White freely admits, there won't be fans in attendance any time soon. And that's a key part of the whole experience that's still not coming across.
Once locked in the octagon, it's coaches' voices only. Except for also hearing the broadcasters at times. As many fighters have said they've made in round adjustments just by hearing the voices of Daniel Cormier and Paul Felder. Is that an advantage to a fighter? Not really, as they're calling things down the middle. But it's something that you'd like to avoid if possible.
Is it time to pump in some crowd noise at MMA events?
It would certainly liven up the way the overall package looks. It doesn't even need to be controlled from the venue either. It can easily be worked from a studio at another location. The only thing needed to make the sounds come across as even semi authentic is some basic knowledge.
That knowledge would be when you raise and lower volume, when to do the same with cheers, and yes even the boos or chants. That would give the far majority of fighters an extra bounce in their steps, and push them even harder. As this wouldn't just be for the viewing audience; but for being pumped into the venue as well.
Some fighters have said they have a hard time hearing their corners when a crowd is overly loud. Well this doesn't have to sound like a packed arena of 21,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs fans. Even just a sound of a couple of hundred would go a long way in the overall package.
Has this idea been considered by the UFC powers that be? Probably. Why have they not acted on it? That's anyone's guess. But Invicta is a week away from their relaunch, and Bellator is about a month away. You can bet they are both considering it highly.
As a matter of fact, it falls into perfect place with Bellator as they'll most likely be running out of a filming sound stage. So they'd have everything needed right at their finger tips. The ride we're all on is far from over. Scott Coker has already worked out a masterful production program form MMA with parent company Viacom/Paramount can safely be assumed. But every little tiny detail that can make the experience as close to what has been normal brings any trepidation level down significantly.