Dan Hooker: Tony Ferguson Lost To Charles Oliveira Due To Lack Of Fans

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Dan Hooker believes the lack of fans played a role in Tony Ferguson’s defeat to Charles Oliveira.

Ferguson suffered a second defeat in a row for the first time in his professional career after getting outpointed by Oliveira in the co-main event of UFC 256 this past weekend.

Many have since speculated what led to that result.

Was it Ferguson showing further signs of decline? Was he just beaten by the better man in “Do Bronx” who has now reached a new level? Or was Ferguson hampered by the armbar attempt at the end of the first round which saw him barely use his left arm for the rest of the fight?

Hooker: Ferguson Is A Crowd Fighter

We can all speculate for now, but Hooker has added one more potential reason — the fact that like Conor McGregor, Ferguson is a crowd fighter who draws off the energy of the fans.

Oliveira, meanwhile, benefited from the lack of pressure from what was the biggest fight of his career.

“It’s pretty obvious to me what’s happened,” Hooker told Submission Radio. “Like, everyone is going to have their opinion on what happened. Like, Tony’s come out and had his say to it, and I was already thinking that before he came out with that statement. Like, he’s a crowd fighter, he draws energy from the crowd. Under those big moments, under the pressure, 10, 20, 30-thousand people there, you can’t tell me that doesn’t change the environment of the situation. And Charles Oliveira, to me, he’s a fighter that traditionally doesn’t do very well under the pressure of those big fights. You look at any big fight he’s had in his past, and he freezes, or he’ll crumble under the pressure of those big fights. So, to me, that’s what it was. Tony wasn’t awake. Tony didn’t look like he’d been riled up. And Charles Oliveira was in the zone, in his element, and freely doing his thing.

“You can’t tell me that doesn’t change what you’re doing. It’s like, everyone is awesome at doing their day job. But it’s like, if you had to do your day job with 20,000 people there, yelling, screaming, getting you hyped up. It’s just the whole, well, I’ve been through it, I’ve been through it before. I fought twice this year. Once in my hometown in front of a sold-out stadium of my countrymen, and then flying over to Las Vegas to the APEX where those two fought, and it’s dead, it’s quiet. Like, I was the same. I like the crowds, I function well, and I love the pressure. I feel like it just builds. But, it’s like the whole week. Open workouts, weigh-ins. When you got the crowds there, you can draw energy from it and it gets you going, or it makes fighters cramp up and freeze. Everyone’s got world champion training partners. That’s a thing, there’s a name for it. World Championship training partners. They’re the guys that will kick the arse of the biggest name fighter in your gym, but he struggles to compete in an amateur environment, he struggles to compete in like an in-house gym fight. Like, you see them freeze. You can’t tell me that same thing doesn’t apply at the highest tier of the sport. And it’s interesting that we’re just see that now. It definitely to me would have changed how that fight played out.”

“Like, there’s a lot of fighters coming up under these conditions, under this environment. Like, Khamzat Chimaev, that’s another – like, I’m not saying he is a championship fighter, but we just don’t know. Like, the guy’s never fought in the UFC with a crowd. We don’t know how he handles pressure. Man, there’s like, 10 15 people, I was counting the people when I was walking out to my fight when I fought in the Apex. Like, it’s incomparable, the pressure situation. Like, yeah, you know there’s people watching at home, but there’s like one guy standing there with a camera. Like, it doesn’t mean anything to me.”

It’s certainly an interesting and valid point to consider as fighting without fans at the highest level is a rare thing for any top UFC fighter while some definitely benefit from the lack of fans as well.

We’ll only know for sure if fans are back early next year which seems to be the plan according to UFC president Dana White.

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Date: December 16, 2020

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