Holy smokes! So much happened last night. When I close my eyes, I can hear the sound of hard punches echoing. The flat, dull, thud of gloves hitting their target replays each time I recount the fights. It’s not a lovely sound by most people’s standards.
Also, friend of the site Pat Cummins, won his MMA debut live on Sherdog.com, so congrats! Whoooo, that one was a doozy too. And the fighter I followed all around Tokyo, Wayne Phillips, won his fight after some confusion over the scorecards.
Casey and I were on hand to document all the action, me above the cage and Casey backstage with Ariel Helwani.
I don’t even know where to start except that I’m a little embarrassed there’s a microphone at my shooting post and I hope no one heard me gasp each time someone was knocked down. When Dan Henderson won that fight I immediately jumped straight off the upper part of my two-tiered shooting platform and was about to run into the cage when I saw Dan get on top of the cage. Then he ran to the other side and I panicked. There was a lot of running and sweating on my part last night.
Also, Robbie Lawler was gracious in victory as Mike Kyle was gracious in defeat. When I saw Lawler walk down that ramp, huffing and puffing, he grabbed each of his cornermen in a stiff, manly embrace — some kind of Viking ritual seconds before running into heated bloody battle — it was evident that the fight would end quickly, viciously. His energy was contagious. I felt my heart beating fast and echoing in my head as I got back up on my platform, but I felt focused. I actually shot the exact moment Lindland was knocked out but I have the back view and most of the time and definitely in this case, if there’s no faces, the shot is useless.
But I was in tune with the moment.
I knew when it would happen.
And I saw it in slow motion.
In fact, I watched it today in real time and it surprised me how quickly the whole thing passed because in my head I clearly saw each frame I shot.
Timing wise, I was on my game last night but I had pretty bad luck when it came to angles. Nonetheless, I’m sure the images still tell the story of one of the most exciting nights in Strikeforce history and certainly an explosive way to end the year.
Check out all the photos from the violent (yet fairly bloodless) night of fights, plus, the always fun cameraphone pics from my studio shoot.