We got up this morning & had a bit of a subdued breakfast. We caught the shuttle again again & headed back to the Fan Expo. We got there just in time for Forrest Griffin & Stephan Bonnar's Hall of Fame Induction. Lemme just toss this out there: I think there's probably a better "filler" fight you can show on the big screens before this event than the one they picked:
|Yeah, that's Bonnar/Silva. Ouch, guys.|
Dana came out & was really fired up. He gave an incredibly passionate speech about the state of the UFC before TUF and the struggles they went through just to get it on the air and declared that without Forrest & Stephan, this sport would no longer exist. We then got to watch a really cool highlight video about the two of them, which mainly showed a bunch of highlights from The Fight. Pretty awesome stuff. Here's a whole slew of pics:
|Forrest & Stephan giving their acceptance speeches|
After that , we decided to get up & go wander the floor some more. We ended up at the Grapplers Quest mats & watched some Kid Jitsu. On the one hand, it was cute & adorable to see all these little grapplers going at it, made you feel good about the future of our sport. On the other hand, every kid that lost teared up & was absolutely heart-broken. Made you feel ashamed to have enjoyed the match. But only for a minute, because their parents/coaches were instantly right there to console them & help them to be good sports, teaching them how to lose the right way. Good stuff, all the way.
Hustled back to the Main Stage, though, because at 12:30, the one, the only Chael P. Sonnen took over the mike. It was absolutely as outlandish & hysterical as you think it was. I'm hoping that by the time I finish editing this, there video will have been put online (EDIT: I've looked everywhere & can't find a link, sorry y'all), but in the meantime, lemme just list the highlights I can remember:
- Lebron James
- Oklahoma "Real Talk"
- Anderson & Chris' kiss
- Words of encouragement for Brazil
- Contract demands
- Marry/Screw/Kill with Gilbert Godfrey, Rosie O'Donnell & Kirstie Alley
- Story between Yushin & Chael's mom
So now we head to the MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC 162. I manage to leave my phone in the cab like a moron, but fortunately the driver found it & pulled a U-turn to bring it back to me. Like a boss. Anyhow, we head inside & they've set us up right in the middle of the action: the tunnel into the arena is over one shoulder & Ariel Helwani's interviews are over the other.
Man, what a card of fights! I don't even know where to begin. I gotta say, I really enjoy watching the fights when I'm scoring the events. I have to engage all my faculties to focus on the fight & record the stats accurately, so there's no option of looking away & missing something, or forgetting what's been going on in a round. Anyhow, I had the blue corner (aka underdog) fighters & we did decently, I think. I mean, sure: we went 3-7 on the night, but 2 of those 3 were pretty spectacular KOs & 4 of the other were really exciting!
Let's been honest, though: all anyone remembers is the Main Event at this point (I dunno if I really need to say it, but here it is anyway: ***SPOILERS***). Man, what an electricity went thought that place as those guys walked out. Even in the back, I could feel my hairs stand to stand on end. The fight begins & Wiedman does just what he promised he would: he puts Anderson on his back & starts unleashing some nasty ground & pound. I'll be honest, if you had told me Chris would win by (T)KO, I would have assumed it'd be like that. When he dropped into that kneebar/heel hook, I started getting ready to celebrate a new champ, but Anderson proved his McDonald's black belt from the Nogueiras was legit & defended well. They get back to their feet & Anderson has clearly decided he's over being on his back & starts drawing Chris into his world. By this point, I was rooting for Chris (I came into the fight undecided). I mean, between the near-subs & the fact that I was scoring him, my mind had been made up for me. I was honestly getting pissed that Chris was letting Anderson con him like that, distracting him from his gameplan & bringing him right into the lion's den. They break for the round & head to their corners where Ray Longo's yelling at Chris to "puncha hole in his chest!" & I'm thinking "ummmm, how about you tell him 'don't play that game: plant his ass back on the canvas!'" Shows how much I know! There's Anderson: taunting, bobbing & weaving around the Octagon, shaking off Chris' punches & playing it up the crowd. Bang out of nothing comes muderous left hook & Anderson drops. It wasn't until 3 vengeful punches later, once they were already on the ground, that I realized I need to score that knockdown. I mean, I never occured to me that I would ever have any use for that button while scoring for Chris. I literally had to look back down & find the right button. My mind was in utter shock. As soon as Herb stepped in, I was out of my chair, jumping, clapping, screaming & losing my mind that I was a part of that night, that I got to keep stats for the winner of this historical fight! At that point, we just turned around & watch Ariel interview Roy Jones, Jr. & Dana White as everyone tried to wrap their heads around what had just happened.
We couldn't let the night end that way. Normally, as soon as the last fight is over, we just make our way back to the hotel & try to get some sleep before flying out, but there was no way this night called for the normal routine. We made good use of our UFC crednetials & went to the Post-Fight Press Conference. Watching Dana's reaction to questions about "was that fight a work?" was hysterical.. You could just see the dollar signs disappearing from behind his eyes as the super-fights went up in smoke. Chris came in a little late & the whole place went nuts for him. Anderson got an ovation when he arrived, too. It was a pretty special experience.