December 14, 2016

UFC205 at Madison Square Garden

For The New York Times

UFC 205 was the first professional mixed-martial arts event in New York City, and the biggest card in UFC history. It was comprised of six undercard fights and five main card fights, three of which were title fights. In the main event, Irishman Conor McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez by combination knockout in the second round.

The fights were mostly violent, but what I was most surprised by was that between the chaos there was devastating silence. Being so close I could hear the fighters’ breaths as they were up against the fence, their gasps for air. I could watch their eyes avert from their opponents and fixate on something external, even if just for a split second. I could see that brief moment of confusion when the fighter was processing how to proceed after getting kicked in the gut or punched in the face. In such a frenetic event, the moments of stillness are gone before we can process them, but the photos – not video – allow the viewer to linger with the subtlety of the scene.

Photographed on assignment on November 12, 2016:

New York Times – UFC 205 Live Blog