Author's note: Pre-jump this is all news. Post-jump is a long story about what happened to me on the way home. Feel free to skip that part if you've got ADD
This past Thursday I made the 9 hour drive to Philadelphia to cover Bellator 33 live at the Liacouras Center. It was a fantastic atmosphere, the entire lower bowl was jam-packed with fans and they were very loud. There was tremendous support for the local champions Lyman Good and Eddie Alvarez, although only Alvarez was able to come away with a victory in a fight of the year candidate against a very game Roger Huerta.
Bellator 33 post-fight press conference highlights:
I had a chance to ask two questions, one to each Bellator champion
To Eddie Alvarez: I noticed that you were really landing well with the uppercuts tonight against Huerta. Was there anything specific that you saw when preparing for Roger that made you decide to use the uppercut so much tonight?
Eddie smiled and pointed to the back of the room. "That was all Ricky Lee, my trainer. We were actually going over some tape of Roger this morning and we saw how he ducks forwards and we realized that the uppercut was going to be there all night. So I decided to bring the uppercut back. It’s something I really haven’t used since early in my career and it really worked tonight"
To Ben Askren: In the 4th round the ref stood you up from the mount position. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in my life. How frustrating was that?
Askren: It was really frustrating. I also can’t remember a fight ever being stood up from mount, ever. I was keeping busy, I was mixing up punches and looking for openings. Mount is such a dominant position, a fight should not be stood up from there. I couldn’t let it get to me though and that’s why I was able to take him down again and continue getting to the mount.
Bjorn Rebney and Eddie Alvarez both called out Strikeforce and their lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez. Rebney stated that there were no promotional barriers. He’d let Alvarez fight on Showtime and in San Jose and he would pay him if that would make Strikeforce happy.
I really think this fight happens sometime in 2011.
Ben Askren’s face:
Askren ate a huge upkick at the end of the 5th round, which stunned him and nearly cost him the fight when Lyman Good locked in a triangle choke. Askren was all smiles at the press conference though.
LeVon Maynard was given the microphone for his thoughts after Lyman Good gave a very moving mini-speech about redeeming himself and winning back his title and said "you serious?!, how am I supposed to follow that?" which got quite a few laughs from the media.
Now what really made this story was the trip home. After the press conference I was pretty amped so I decided to drive as far as I could until I got tired. I made it about 150 miles before pulling over at a rest stop. Now when you picture a highway rest stop, you normally think of vending machines, brochures, maybe free wi-fi if you’re lucky right? Wrong, this was gravel and an outhouse. It was a serial killer’s wet dream. I didn’t care though, I was exhausted so I locked the doors, reclined and passed out.
I woke up around 6am and drove another 50 miles when my gas light came on. I pulled over to the nearest gas station and that’s where things got interesting. I couldn’t find my wallet. It had somehow slipped out of my laptop bag during the show and I hadn’t even thought about it until now. I tore the car apart to no avail.
Now picture this, I’m alone, in the middle of rural mountainous Pennsylvania with no money, no identification and no gas. I was a little freaked out to say the least. I went into the station and gave them my sob story and they directed me to another store 20 miles away that had a Western Union. I didn’t have enough gas to make it 20 miles so I scraped together the change that was stuck to the bottom of my cupholders and bought $1.57 worth of gas.
My gas-light didn’t even turn off, and I could feel the panic slowly creeping up my spine as I sputtered away in search of this other station. Thankfully I found the place on the first try and then I had to make one of the most embarrassing phone calls in my life to my mother. It felt like I was holding myself ransom "Wire me $60 via Western Union or you’ll never see your son again!."
I had to wait 5 hours before she could send the money and during one of my restless naps I dreamed that the money never came, all my batteries to my phone and computer died and I’d have to live the rest of my life with the Amish. Thank God I was woken up with a call stating the money had been transferred over.
I picked up the $60 and immediately had to wrestle with the urge to spend it all on booze and candy like I was on Rumschpringe. I was able to make it home safe and sound. The "everything turns out better than expected moment" was when I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was John from Philadelphia and he’d found my wallet and would mail it to me. I got it on Tuesday so this post is dedicated to John, thanks!