Seeing as how I’ve lived in Florida for most of my life, I’d never had a chance to go to a live UFC event before, until tonight. This is UFC on FX 3 through my eyes.
After hearing Dana say over and over again how a live UFC event is like nothing else, I’ll be honest my expectations were pretty high, and the UFC didn’t disappoint. Yes most the prelims were forgettable, but it wasn’t just about the fights, the whole experience was amazing, today was a day that I won’t forget.
My friend and I got there at around 4:00PM and even before the fights had started I was already having a blast. We took a tour of the "Octagon Nation" bus and I got to meet and take a picture with Hector Lombard (who was surprisingly nice), I got the feeling that most people didn’t know who he was which is understandable seeing as how he hasn’t fought in the UFC yet.
Once inside the Arena I got pictures and autographs with Carlos Condit, Michael Chiesa, and Mei-Ling Lam (Miss June 2011). Condit looked huge; he must pack on a few lbs in between fights. Chiesa was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, he joked around with my friend and I and we talked a little bit about his fights on TUF and the TUF finale. He too looked huge, just as big as Condit even. When we were taking a picture I told him I couldn’t believe he fought at lightweight, he laughed and told me he had a great diet.
Condit & Chiesa side by side.
The first thing I noticed one we got to our seats was how quiet the Arena was. There were very few people at the start of the prelims, and I’ll admit, it was weird watching a fight without Kenny Florian and Jon Anik calling the action. Besides the Tim Means and Dustin Pague fights the rest of the prelims were pretty uneventful, I’ve seen people on twitter call them the worst prelims in recent history, that might be true, but honestly I was having such a good time I didn’t really care.
First Prelim Pierson vs Hecht
Right after the Facebook prelims ended me and my friend moved up about 15 rows seeing as how the place was still pretty empty, we stayed in those seats for the whole night. (I’ll admit Floridians are notoriously bad sports fans.) Literally the whole row we were sitting in was empty during the whole show.
Our View After we Moved Up.
In between fights or during what I assume were TV commercial breaks me and my friend would spend time trying to see if we could spot any famous people in the crowd. Not including the fighters that we had met outside and the ones that had already fought and were sitting in the audience we saw Big Black, Dana, Chuck, Rashad, Joe Silva, Travis Browne (I think), Michael Johnson (who was sitting by himself for most of the prelims for some reason) and of course Anik and Florian. I tried to find Ariel and all the other famous MMA journalists but unfortunately press row was on the other side of the octagon so I couldn’t really get a good look over there.
Kenny and Anik
Once the main card started the place started to fill up, I’m assuming most of you watch the fights and will agree with me that they were pretty fuckin’ amazing (thanks Earl ;) )
The Wineland vs Jorgensen fight was unreal, I think I stood and screamed for the whole first round, and I definitely stood up and shouted again after the KO, at that point I was sure that Wineland had just won himself both the Fight of the Night and the Knockout of the Night bonuses.
The Pyle vs Neer and Silva vs Brenneman fights were amazing as well, both had very unexpected endings, and both were super fun to watch. The Pyle KO came out of nowhere, I jumped out of my seat when it happened, I think it caught everyone in the arena off guard. Also, before the Silva vs Brenneman fight I told my friend that that fight would go one of two ways, either Brenneman held on to Silva for most of the fight and got the Decision or Silva would KO him, I was very impressed with Silva to say the least. The best part of the fight however was when Wallid Ismail entered the cage after the SUB, he was going crazy, he ran up to Joe Silva and screamed something, plus his post fight interview/translation with Anik was priceless.
Pyle after KOing Neer
Wallid doing his thang'
In between one of the fights I was able to get a picture with Mike Pierce who despite not being the most exciting fighter is a very nice guy, he spent tons of time taking pictures and signing autographs with the fans after his fight. I’ve never been a fan of his fighting style, but after tonight I’ll definitely be rooting for him.
Despite not being a full house the crowd for the most part was great. As far as I can remember there weren’t any "U.S.A! U.S.A!" chants (despite a few people trying to get one started), and the crowd usually only booed when there was a good reason to boo (Except after Mighty Mouse won, I have no idea why people dislike him). All of the people I talked to that were sitting around us were cool, and most of them were surprisingly knowledgeable about MMA (at least the ones that showed up for the prelims). Also I don’t know if you guys picked it up on the broadcast, but every time the clock went down to 2:00 a large group of guys sitting to the left of us would shout "Two Minutes! Dos Minutos!" (I’m sure my fellow Heat fans will appreciate that).
Once the main event started you could feel the excitement in the arena, during the fight there were several "Uncle Creepy" chants. (Side-note, I was also surprised by how the crowd works, usually only one or two people would start shouting something and in a matter of seconds it seemed like the whole place was chanting the same thing it was pretty crazy).
Overall I’d say this was a great experience, the tickets were worth every penny, and so was the drive down from Orlando. If any of you that haven’t gone to a UFC event ever get the chance to go, do it, I highly recommend it. Now I just can’t wait for the K-1 grand prix to come to Miami next fall.
Thanks for reading.
(Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors, It's pretty late, and I just wanted to write everything down while it was still fresh)