We ate at Nine Fine Irishmen in New York New York before going to the autograph session on Friday, but the line was about a mile long and we were standing outside and it was cold (seriously) and then it started to rain, so we bailed on that. We did get in for the weigh-in though and it was quite an event. Thousands of people and we saw Evan Tanner, Chuck Zito, Mike Goldberg, Mark Coleman, Clay Guida and many others in addition to all the fighters obviously and the ring girls and Joe Rogan. It was awesome. Tito wore a shirt that said "Dana is my bitch" and the place was very rowdy throughout. BJ Penn got the biggest roar and Sean Sherk got the most boos I'd say. We had a blast. Afterwards we went to the Haufbrau beer joint for dinner and brews, then the Monte Carlo Brewpub and finally just back to the MGM Grand to hang out. UFC fighters were all over the place and we saw Tyson Griffin, War Machine, Jason Tan and Manny Gamburian among others.
Saturday we goofed around on the strip all day waiting on the fights to start. We got in right at 4:30 for the first fight so we could see every fight on the card. The environment was unreal with thousands of rabid UFC fans yelling for blood and going nuts. For the first 3 or 4 fights it was about half full but it filled up easily by the time the televised card go going. We saw lots of people such as Denise Richards, Shaquille O'Neal, The Rock and David Spade and many UFC fighters like Matt Hammill, Shonie Carter, Diego Sanchez (he sat about 3 rows in front of us) and Chuck Liddell.
The fights themselves were everything I'd hoped they'd be. I've been to plenty of sporting events, from NFL games to Final Fours to loads of baseball at all levels to SEC football games and this environment was as crazy as any. The crowd would go nuts on every big punch or kick and cheer wildly for action the entire time. Boos would reign down anytime it got slowed down for more than a few seconds it seemed. When BJ Penn knocked Sherk against the cage and began reigning down fists that place was so loud I thought the roof would blow off. Wanderlei Silva's beatdown on Keith Jardine was almost as loud and it was crazy though Tito's entire match, even without much action. Rameau Sokoudjou got a loud response as well (the guy behind us yelled that he wanted him to have his baby for some reason).
UFC matchmaker Joel Silva was in the lobby of the Grand as we checked out and in the airport today we spotted (or I should say Phil spotted... he's really good at picking these guys out) fighters Nate Marquardt and Kazuhiro Nakamura.
For the record, Everybody we asked for pics this weekend was just super cool.
It was an unbelievable weekend. I'll probably post some more pics sometime, but here's a few to chew on:
Me with Evan Tanner
Phil with Clay Guida
Tito Being Tito at Weigh In
Joe Rogan and the Ring Girls at Weigh In
Phil with Tyson Griffin
Nakamura vs Sokoudjou
Me with Mike Goldberg
Me showing Phil the Proper "Fist Pose"
Vegas at Night