May 11 (UPI) -- Greg Hardy said an empty arena helped him win his recent UFC fight, while Taiwan sold out baseball games this weekend with a 1,000-fan limit as sports slowly return from suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hardy -- a former defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys -- beat Yorgan De Castro by unanimous decision in a heavyweight bout at UFC 249 Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. The 11-fight event was the first major sports event to take place in the United States since sports leagues were suspended in March.
Hardy said the quiet arena allowed him to hear commentators when they talked during the fight. UFC star Daniel Cormier talked to Joe Rogan about what Hardy could improve on to beat De Castro. Cormier said Hardy should check -- or prepare more -- for De Castro's kicks before they could weaken his body.
"Thank God for not having the crowd," Hardy told Rogan during his post-fight interview. "Shout out to [Cormier].
"I heard [Cormier] tell me to check him. So I started trying to check him! Game changer!"
Hardy said he could also hear De Castro's coach during the fight. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound fighter told reporters after the fight that he found out he didn't have the coronavirus 24 hours before UFC 249.
Justin Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson by technical knockout in the fifth round to claim the interim lightweight title in the main event of UFC 249.
Sold out baseball in Taiwan
Fans flocked to baseball games for weekend series in the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. The four-team league was the first sports league in the world to play live games before it opened ballparks to fans on Friday.
The CTBC Brothers beat the Rakuten Monkeys 6-4 Friday at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung. The Fubon Guardians beat the Uni-Lions 7-6 Friday at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in Xinzhuang. Both games were played in front of sold-out crowds, with 1,000 fans allowed under Taiwanese government guidelines.
Fans were required to wear face masks and followed strict seat assignments. Concession stands were closed and food was banned during the game. The Monkeys won their weekend series 2-1. The Guardians also won two of three games against the Uni-Lions.
More than 150 media representatives attended Friday's games, according to the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
South Korea's Korean Baseball Association also had weekend clashes, but they were held in empty stadiums. The Kiwoom Heroes won two of three games against the Hanwha Eagles.
The Samsung Lions won two of three games against the Kia Tigers. The Doosan Bears and KT Wiz split a two-game matchup. The NC Dinos and LG Twins also split their two-game affair. The Lotte Giants won two games against the SK Wyverns.