Finally out of Las Vegas. Going over my gallery from 114 to pick out a couple shots for you to lure you over to MMAfighting.com to see the whole thing.
I am trying to write out how my night went while visiting my family but my younger brother is watching local news behind me and the stupidity of the stories is actually erasing my memories and replacing them with blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Get it together, Esther.
The night was off to a rollicking start as I ran to the cage to shoot Jensen/Forbes after sprinting over from the Fan Expo over at the Mandalay Bay. Well, sprinting through Las Vegas Strip traffic and crazy parking lot madness.
Omaha sure showed up tonight.
Ryan Jensen survived an early knockdown to submit Jesse Forbes. Too bad the crowd was still filtering in at that point, lots of ticket holders missed out on some great early action.
And Brilz! Jason Brilz. I did a media tour with the firefighter last February in Omaha before his first fight with the UFC while out shooting Victory Fighting. Nice guy. I’m happy that he got that bonus.
Until the pay-per-view began, I ran back and forth between the media center and the cage, eating two bites of my dinner each trip while loading photos from the previous fight. I would then run out, darting around cocktail waitresses and plodding fans like a ninja and back in my position by the cage in minutes. Okay, okay, I’m actually mostly trying really hard to get around droves of drunk people forgetting the location of their seats.
Fans were pretty antsy. Lots of fights that went to decision after that firecracker start and lots of tired Expo goers with bellies already full of beer likely led to ridiculous amounts of booing.
I mean, yeah, all the fights weren’t super exciting but the Korean Zombie can’t fight an entire card. Or can he?
Guillard’s knee to Lowe’s ribs was so painfully brief (and painful) and behind a post, I wouldn’t have known it’d happened if it wasn’t for the crowd oooooohing.
And Russow. His humble face as Joe Rogan asked him about the KO. A genuine happiness, lovely after everyone’s comments about his gut. I mean, even I couldn’t help but stare at the jiggle. As he left triumphant passing press row, I overheard his cornerman say, “That’ll teach Sherdog to pick against ya.”
By the start of the PPV, my back was screaming. I have this fantastically helpful harness that allows me to carry two camera bodies at once. But after having done that all week with the Expo and the extended public workouts, my tiny frame was hurting. But hell, this is my fucking job and I love to do this, so I powered through thinking only of shooting, getting the photos out and up, looking forward to a post-fight dark brew while reading the Shooto play-by-play.
Which by the way, congratulations to Hatsu Hioki on winning that Shooto Featherweight belt. I met him at Sengoku last March and I think he’s one of three fighters I’ve ever asked for a picture with that I don’t know personally. It’s out of focus and I was a little bummed that he took his adorable glasses off to take the photo with me.
Back to UFC.
Let’s skip to right before the main event (where I finally spotted Chan Sung Jung, who also fought on that same Sengoku card and I met him during a workout at a Tokyo hotel and he is a very nice boy). The place was buzzing. Actually, they were stomping in the stands. When Rashad walked out, the fans booed, but as Shook Ones echoed through the arena, I beamed. After all, as you know, I judge a fighter based on his or her walkout music and Evans’ has the All Elbows seal-of-approval.
When Rampage walked out, the roar was amazing, rivaling the volume when Mike Russow knocked out Todd Duffee earlier in the night.
Photographers by me whined that it was boring but to quote King Mo’s twitter, “Lol for people sayin all we do is take people down. Learn to sprawl. Lol.” And as much as I might hate that as a shooter (wrestling isn’t too photographically dynamic), it’s definitely true. And honestly, if I were in a real fight, hell if I’d stand! I’d double leg that sucker and elbow the crap out of him and smash his face in with the closest wield-able object. Oh, actually, I’d headbutt first.
I’m really distracted.
Right, so the fight! Exactly as I thought it would go, except I didn’t expect Rampage to be so gracious in defeat.
After the post-fight presser, I wrapped up and tried to rush back to my friend’s place to finish up but found myself stuck in awful parking lot traffic so we parked and I finished up in the car to the faint-loud-faint sounds of car alarms set off by the lost and inebriated.
Got back to base and as promised, kept up on Shooto via Sherdog’s live chat/PBP and friend and colleague Daniel Herbertson’s twitter until I passed out on my keyboard.
And keep your eyes peeled for the Shooto gallery from Dan Herbertson on MMAfighting.com later this week too!