'Stop blowing kisses in a pandemic': Octagon girl Brittney Palmer called out as UFC returns from Covid-19 hiatus
The UFC became the first major US sports organization to emerge from the Covid-19 chaos as it staged a stacked UFC 249 card behind closed doors at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, and Palmer ensured fans did not have to go without the familiar face of an octagon girl.
Debate had raged before the event about what the stripped-back version of fights during the coronavirus pandemic would mean for the UFC and its octagon girls, and whether they would be cageside to do the honors between rounds.
In the end, the UFC decided to dispense with its usual double-act of octagon stunners but still deemed their presence essential as Palmer, 33, worked alone.
Palmer posted to her 1.1 million Instagram followers before the action began, saying that it "feels good to be back."
Her night's work was different to usual though as she wasn't asked to parade all sides of the octagon, given the lack of fans present.
However, some observers took issue with the maskless Palmer blowing kisses into the camera on the broadcast between rounds - complaining that it was inappropriate given the circumstances.
That was a message which Palmer acknowledged before switching to a 'heart' gesture.
Other fans questioned whether Palmer's presence was even required at all considering the lack of crowd - but were shut down by fellow fight fans.
Just enjoy the view dawg there doing no harm in my books— Yeahhitee (@Yeahhitee1) May 9, 2020
An eventful night of action saw bantamweight king Henry Cejudo cement his legacy with a stoppage of former to-time champion Dominick Cruz in the co-main event, before 'Triple C' announced he was retiring from the sport at the age of 33.
In the headliner, Justin Gaethje upset Tony Ferguson with a brutally clinical display to pick up the lightweight interim title and earn a shot at undefeated Russian destroyer Khabib Nurmagomedov.Also on rt.com Khabib responds after Justin Gaethje demolishes Tony Ferguson to win interim title at UFC 249
Coronavirus fears were raised before the event when Brazil's Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive for the deadly diseas, forcing his fight with Uriah Hall to be scrapped after the weigh-in on Friday.
However, the remaining fights went ahead as planned, and the UFC will continue its comeback on Wednesday before another night of action on Saturday.