Saturday, July 6, 2013

UFC Fan Expo Day 1

This is free???

Got up & got breakfast this morning, then rolled over to the Fan Expo. Got in & started wandering the floor. First impression was that there were a lot of people camped out for signatures. Like, sitting-on-the-floor, food-&-belongs-spread-out-around-them, making-a-day-of-it camping out. Never made much sense to me, but sure, go for it. Anyhow, some of the cooler events on the schedule were to be on the "Main Stage", so I headed over there around 10:30 for Jay Glazer's Q&A.

He talked mostly about Fox Sports 1 & which NFLers would do well in MMA. Pretty funny, but not much groundbreaking stuff. Next up was the one everyone was waiting for, though: Dana White. Everyone was trying to get free stuff outta him. Asking for free tickets, seat upgrades, jobs, "get my an autograph with [fighter X]" & the classic "when are you coming to [insert gone town]?" Hmm, now a guy's pitching "a marketing idea to increase you PPV by a minimum 30%". Interesting...

Up next was Joe Rogan & he was awesome. He didn't pull any punches with his answers, especially when he felt like the questioners needed to get their balls busted a bit. Absolutely hysterical, he had all of us rolling.

 

Mike Dolce's Q&A was a nerdy meathead's dream. All about plugging the new UFC Fit program, too. It was interesting to see him dance back & forth between canned answers to questions he'd heard a million times before, but then switch over immediately & give very detailed responses to the question, anyway. Like he couldn't contain the knowledge bursting out of him!

 

Bruce Buffer was up next, but pickings were pretty slim. A one point, he got so low on questioners that he offered to go ahead & fulfill the coupla requests for autographs/pics he had gotten & suddenly got swarmed by about 20-30 people! Ended up working out for him, 'cause he hopped back on stage real quick & the new crowd stuck around for him. He did get the same questions about whether we'll see the Buffer 360 again & fighting Frank Trigg about 4 times each.

 

They had a gap then until the weigh-ins at 4pm, which were held at the Mandalay Bay Event Center, but they streamed it here at the main stage, too. I like the on-screen graphics & picture-in-picture they had with the analysts to give background info. If I didn't know any better, I'd say we've got us a real sport!

 

Last up was what I had been looking forward to all day: the Q&A with Matt Hughes & Chuck Liddell. It was kinda funny, the first 3 questions were for Chuck & a little kid wanted to get his Orund 5 figure signed, so Matt held Chuck's mike for him. While Chuck's signing, Matt looks up for the next questioner. The guy says "My question's for Chuck..." and Matt just raises his hand, waves to the crowd & goes "Hi guys, I'm here!" Crowdgot a good chuckle out of that. I missed a chunk in the middle because a couple of my coworkers from FightMetric showed p & I needed to give them their passes into the Expo, but by the time I got back, the questions had really picked up. I don't remember all of 'em, but there was one where they asked Chuck & Matt for their favorite fight of the other's. Chuck talked about being in the back, warming up for his fight against Randy at UFC 52 & jumping around going nuts watching the second Trigg fight. Matt talked about Chuck's match-up against Vitor at 37.5. There was a lot of questions about regulation & getting into New York, which both guys said they'd been working on & felt like it was close. Another guy asked who they would fight if they could hand-pick their next opponent. Chuck said he'd want to get back one of his losses. Matt said anyone he could beat. "I don't care if he's in a stroller or a walker, just get him in the cage & gimme 20sec with him!" He then said he'd heard a rumor that Royce wanted a rematch. "I don't know if Royce actually said that or not, but if Royce were to come up on stage & ask to fight, I take that the DW right now!"

 

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Ok, so that was the main stage stuff. When I wasn't sitting on my duff, I was wandering the floor & having a good time. Grapplers Quest has a massive tournament going on in one corner, in the other is a big UFC Fit set up with heavy bags, TRX straps, a giant metal walk-over staircase thing & then 4 stations that each had a row machine, a heavy bag, battle ropes & a plyo box. These were for the UFCGym Challenge. 30 competitors (15 men & 15 women) were put into 4 heats (per gender), with the top 8 moving on to the finals tomorrow. The set was 250m on the row machine's highest setting, 10 slams of the heavy bag, 10 burped with the battle ropes & 10 plyo box jumps. They had 10min & had to complete as many sets as they could in that time.

 

Most of the booths were what you'd expect: booth babes outside trying to entice people in, extremely passionate sales people, lots of pedestrians trying to avoid eye contact. Venum had chick DJing & various girls up on platforms modeling some of the gear by dancing around. The biggest get of the day though was when I wandered through the UFC's store/booth. They had a lot of gear on clearance & I was shocked to find they had two bins FULL of Pride DVDs, and they were all $1 each! I bought 13. Would have bought more, but that's all they had. I'll prolly end up swinging back through there again tomorrow to see if they put out any new ones. On top of that, they had the UFC Encyclopedia on sale for just $25, which is 50% off. When you consider a DVDs usually about $10, I spent $38 on $180 worth of gear. Winner = Westcott.

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So after the Expo, my buddies & I headed back to our hotel because, in addition to the free, cooked-to-order breakfast that iPad this morning, they have an open bar for guests from 5:30-7:30! So yeah, we got back at 6:51 & may or may not have crushed 4ish rounds before the free drinks stopped 39min later. Don't judge me. At that point, the night devolved into 4 dudes having 3 conversations that somehow managed to sync up at the laugh breaks. At some point we went to some restaurant called Pepperini (I think?)* & consumed massive amounts of food. When then walked down the road until we ran into a cab letting some people out & climbed in after them. As he drove us back to our hotel, we had a very intense discussion about the state of SNL & Frankie Edgar's fighting style. I somehow ended up back in my room sometime around 12:30 & figured bedtime sounded good.

 

*Nope, way off. It was called "Peppermill"

 

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