I have been shooting fight sports for a long time and have been blessed with being able to shoot at the premier fight promotion in Asia, One Championship, for the last 5 years. Every show is a huge event and a constant learning process as you figure out how to capture constantly moving fighters in a small space, usually good lighting but usually I have to contend with shooting through the cage which is an art in itself.
Normally stadiums are pretty full and the noise levels and atmosphere is incredible but the last year or so, we have had empty stadiums due to Covid-19 restrictions. As was the case in other sports, the lack of crowd made for an eerie experience, but in MMA it also led to something altogether more disturbing – the sound of pain.
You could hear every punch. Every kick to the chest, every crack to the head, and while as a photographer in close attendance, to hear them so raw and unfiltered in near desolate venues was a reality check and really brought home the fact that these guys are the real deal and have dedicated themselves to a pretty tough life.
So last Friday, it was a relief to see fans back in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, albeit in limited numbers (Only 500 allowed) to watch the last One Championship installment: Revolution. This was an 11-bout event with 3 championship belts on the line. As always an incredible night of fights, no shortage of controversy and a new champion!
We need the crowds back to events in Singapore and we need them at sporting venues most of all!
Enjoy the photos!