Bloody Elbow staff member Chris Barton was live at the UFC 137 press conference at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Stephen Fernandez / Splash News for Sherdog.com
I had the pleasure of being able to attend the UFC 137 press conference LIVE today as a member of the media. Little did I know what a treat it would be, or what madness it would turn into. If I was going to be able to attend just one press conference, this would have been the one to be at.
Let me make this clear right from the start here, I live in Las Vegas. I have been to the Mandalay Bay many, many times. I have been to a number of events at the Convention Center. That place is a labyrinthine mess and it's unnavigable unless you are intimately familiar with the entire place. Which means security had to take me by the hand and lead me to the press area. It was not close to where I was looking. It didn't go uphill from there...
I was the first person at the media lunch and the only person for a long time, which was awkward. The food was there but I didn't want to look like a total fatass so I waited until other people showed up and ate first. Finally people did and not a single person sat at my table. I don't think I look like a psycho killer, but do psycho killers ever really realize how they truly look? I was able to get to eat, though. I won't bore you with food details, but it was very nice.
Finally someone I recognized came in, so I said "Hi Mike" to Mr. Straka and he sat at my table with his crew. It was nice to not feel like to smelly high school nerd. Unfortunately, that was not Mike Straka. He didn't say anything to me about it, but we didn't really converse after that greeting, which confused me until someone called him by his name. Ron Kruck. I'm awesome...
I did make some friends, though! It started with an L.A. print media team for a Spanish newspaper that is trying to start covering MMA, really nice guys. They asked me every question they could think of about the Overeem vs Lesnar bout and then a ton about Cain Velasquez. Not a single thing about GSP or Nick Diaz but I guess it makes sense considering how hard the UFC is pushing Cain to that market. They also borrowed a pen from me, as I come prepared. Here is what sealed them as quality people for me; they made sure to give the pen back. Classy stuff.
You've all seen and heard (mostly) the presser itself, or the news that came out of it, so I won't go into detail. It was madness. One bright spot for me was the craziness of it all seemed to break GSP out of the rote way he answers every question. He is also way more attractive in person. Yours truly broke the news of the GSP vs. Condit fight on Twitter first, and I was able to get the microphone once to ask a question intending to do Bloody Elbow proud. In my head I asked, "GSP, you and Carlos Condit have a recent opponent in common, Dan Hardy. You were unable to finish Dan while Carlos made short work of him. Considering that, does fighting Carlos on short notice worry you with how impressive he has been?"
What I actually muttered was, "Concerning Carlos Condit you have uhhhh Dan Hardy in common, he... pretty much wrecked him. Do you feel like this short notice turnaround, how worried are you about that for facing someone who's looked so impressive as Carlos has lately?" Clearly I am a pro at this already.
After the main part of the conference wrapped the media hung around to get some one on one stuff, but it was cut pretty short since Dana and GSP had to run out to get the contract dealings with Condit sorted out. I did hang out with the people from Middle Easy for a bit and they just looked crestfallen. I tried to commiserate with them over the Diaz situation and they were making desperate calls to everyone in the Gracie camp to figure out what happened to Nick all the while assuring me that Nick is far crazier than anyone knows. They also said, "Nate is not like Nick. Nate is as cool as a milkshake in a snowstorm"