Three friends and I attended Fedor vs. Silva.
This is our story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
I woke up at a spry one o' clock in the afternoon due to the fact that I forced my roommate to drink all night with me to celebrate that I'd finally see Fedor fight live the next day. My roommate, though particularly disliking fighting, is Ukrainian. So he shows some slight support of things relating to Fedor... when I annoy him enough about it and force intoxication on him. I stumble out of my glorified beach shed in wonderful Long Branch, NJ around three and meet up with my friend Big Boobs McGee. Of course, her oddly gigantic boobs are hanging out of her shirt. Business as usual.
Off to Newark!
Big Boobs McGee and I meet up with Dooooooon and Jesusica in Campino Mercado in the Ironbound and begin the drinking. The conversation quickly turns obnoxious and through some timewarp we are all suddenly drunk and have missed half of the preliminary fights. Big Boobs Mcgee won't shut up about it, but Jesusica is showing us the text messages Dooooooon sends her everyday while he goes to the bathroom and it's too funny to pass up. Naturally, the conversation quickly devolves into whether Jesusica would give Dooooooon a blumpkin if he was terminally ill and it's the only thing in the world that would save him. Some of my favorite texts:
- Miss, may I have a blumpkin please?
- Death just poured out of my asshole. Blumpkin time!!
- What rhymes with pumpkin?
We do finally leave and go to the IZOD arena. Dooooooon accidentally pulls back onto the highway from the parking lot on our first attempt. That's what he gets for following an old Corolla with New York plates when trying to find the parking lot. Second attempt we get in, $20 to park. I heard the parking at this place is atrocious and you always have to walk a mile from your spot, but we somehow end up about a hundred feet from the entrance even though it's approaching time for the main card to start.
While on line to get our tickets scanned, we hear a man on the escalator ahead scream: "I WILL CUT YOU, LADY!", and I quickly come to accept that this is a very choice crowd. Hordes of Tapout/Affliction shirts. Strangely shaped mullets and facial hair. All the Russians appear to be dressed for a funeral(sad in hindsight). Three men taking turns spanking each other in the beer line... I decide it's a perfect time to stock up on beer... It's a 2/person limit so we buy all that they will allow us to carry.
We bought nosebleed seats. When we get to our section, though, there is a man that appears to have drank his weight in sangria earlier dancing exotically in the general area of where our seats are. Everyone that is with him seem to be ignoring him(or maybe he's drunkenly wandered off to that area of the arena alone; we saw lots of that going on throughout the night.). Forcing my eyes away from his hypnotic belly-dance, we made the wise choice to move one section over to an area of completely empty seats and sit in the very top row. There was a walkway above us. This came in handy later in the night.
We can finally drunkenly watch the fights. The introduction of all of the Grand Prix fighters was really cool and stuck out in my mind a bit. It was not exactly Pride, but seeing all of those beasts up there is always cool. I was a little surprised how aggressively Fedor left. The rest of the fighters kind of shuffled out behind him. This was a good sign to me. Seemed like an assertion of dominance over the Reem at that point. Then again, we as hardcore fans completely overanalyze these things.
I am not gonna give in-depth reviews. Most of these fights have been reviewed enough times and we all know the outcomes. OldReem was unimpressive. Sefo doesn't belong in an MMA cage without any semblance of a ground game. Del Rosario was good. Griggs is fucking awesome. Big Boobs McGee, Dooooooon, and Jesusica didn't seem to know who he is(I can't say I blame them.), but I went nuts when he won. I hope to see him and his chops continue their winning ways. I hope to see him in against OldReem next in that alternate tournament, though I'm not entirely sure how it's being structured. I would drop a few bucks though that Griggs would beat him up.
We had to take a break to get more beer and food at this point. It was a good chance to do some people watching. Lots of people seemed really, really drunk. You could kinda feel the tension in the air as the Fedor fight got closer. All the drunken fun seemed to tone itself down a little bit and things felt more serious. After all, we were there to watch a legend begin his comeback journey after his first loss.
Kharitonov has some serious punching power - or is Arlovski's chin really nonexistent? I dunno, those clinch uppercuts were pretty brutal. When Arlovski went stiff, it was a little bit scary. I was the only person anywhere in my vicinity that was actually rooting for Kharitonov. McGee & Co. all wanted Arlovski to win, but that brute Sergei came through and after watching the main event, I think he is the guy I am rooting for to win this tournament. How great would that be? I think Strikeforce should start marketing him a little bit; it would be a pretty cool comeback/redemption tale of its own after how long he's been away from major MMA competition. The mystery around his time away also. I have heard rumors of his back problems, but he's made it very clear that there are other reasons also.
Dooooooon and I are beyond anxious at this point. We are standing behind our row of seats pacing back and forth in the upper walkway. Jesusica reveals that if the main event goes bad for Fedor, they are taking off in the car and leaving us there. She was stuck watching Fedor/Werdum with us, unfortunately, and I guess our fanboy shock and the fact that it destroyed our souls and doomed us to an eternity in purgatory was a bit much for her to bear. We've watch Fedor 2.0 with her about a hundred times since, and she don't wanna sit through it again. But it's all joking. After all, there's no way Fedor could lose... Right? Right? Not twice in a row after 29 consecutive wins...
The knot in my stomach lessens slightly when the behemoth man that is Bigfoot Silva enters. The crowd is booing him pretty loudly, which I felt unnecessary. No need to boo him, unless it's due to past steroid usage. I like Bigfoot. I know his ground n pound can be pretty awesomely brutal with those hams for fists. His comeback against Mike Kyle was a great fight. So I don't boo. I clap a few times and wait until I can see Fedor. I met him once, and I can tell from his body language that he is not in the same mindset when it's fight time.
The man seriously exudes a like, nervous energy. Watching him pace along the walkway waiting to be introduced it was truly like watching a lion. They never show that in any videos. They always just show his bored walk to the ring. I didn't know that Fedor ever paced. I was pacing too. Plastic beer bottles in each hand, muttering to myself like a hobo, picturing Hong Man Choi, a world of talent below Bigfoot in the grappling department, using his weight to twice fall on top of Fedor. But Fedor won, that's all that mattered.
I scored the first round for Fedor. I have not rewatched the first round since, but from my vantage point, it looked a 10-9 for Fedor with a few scary moments. Everytime a big punch landed the entire arena gasped as one. It amazes me the emotional investment an entire arena in a country halfway around the world have in this man. He is a Russian fighting in the United States and the entire place is hanging on every little motion, praying in our nuthugging little hearts that he can pull out another miracle win. For someone with no marketability, he has an awful lot of fans across the world cheering for him.
I spend the entire second round watching in a crouch. Hands gripping the walkway railing. I am somehow out of beer. I could swear I could hear people breathing it felt so quiet. Just the thuds of those giant meatfists crashing down on the entire arena's hopes and dreams. That's how it felt in my mind, anyways. He kept rolling. Looking for a way out. I think they would have stopped it if it was anyone besides Fedor at ATLEAST one point. When Bigfoot went for the rear naked and flattened Fedor out the whole place was like a ball of energy waiting to explode. Then again in the arm triangle. God, when he was pounding Fedor's head off the mat over and over again. It was a show of heart, skill, determination, and outright resolve that I am proud to have watched in person. I had no clue when it was in the round when Silva dropped back for the kneebar. Fedor answered...
We jumped up. We could not tell at all how deep it was or if Silva was in any trouble at all. I just saw that Fedor had a hold of his leg. After a beating like that, he was looking to finish this fight. Nervous screams rang out. I nearly jumped the railing into Jesusica's lap and punched Big Boobs McGee right in her giant left tit, but I would have missed Fedor's amazing comeback! And then the bell rang.
The rest, you know.
I spent the night freezing my balls off sleeping on the couch in my work apartment in Newark, only covered with a little afghan blanket, swearing revenge on that big mean Brazilian man that beat my hero up so so so so bad. Oh he beat him so bad. He was soooo mean. I could hear McGee screaming from my bedroom to shut the hell up, reminding me that my childlike pleas for Fedor to fly around the world like Superman and go back in time and knock Silva out in the first round were being spoken aloud. I quieted down and curled in a ball under my little blanket and kept my weeping to a minimum in fear she would start throwing dinner plates at me. Thank you, Jesusica, for bringing me a blanket later.
Thank you, Fedor, for that amazing display of resilience. One of many. Thank you for the years of entertainment and fun you've provided, for all the intensity, and for being the kind of fighter that fans love to watch. Thank you for signing shirts and taking pictures with all my friends and I this past summer. Retire or not, you, sir, are the G.O.A.T.