Last Aug. 31, 2012, was my 1st ever live MMA event. Though, I have been an MMA fan since 05, this was the 1st that I watched live cause URCC (the local MMA org) didnt really interests me. Yes, some of the fighters came from URCC (Banario, Belingon, Folayang), but this event features the top local talents plus some UFC vets. Days before, I checked the ticketing website for prices and they seemed reasonable, but I didnt purchase there, since I think I can score premium tickets at lower price from the scalpers in the venue. Then, the day of the event came. I decided to make 1hour undertime from work to aviod heavy traffic during friday nights in Manila. When I got to Araneta Coliseum, I was suprised that almost all of the tickets are sold out, except for the cheapest and 3rd cheapest. I was suprised cause I know MMA is not really big here in Manila. I planned on buying a "SuperFan Ticket", which only around $16 and in which you can touch the fighters cause it is in the walkout area..But since it already sold out and the scalper's tickets are only for the cheapest, I opted to buy the 3rd cheapest. I got the Upper Box A, but standing room only, cause the one with sure seats are sold out also.
The event was supposed to start at 7.30pm local time, but it actually started 1hour late. Well, what can I say its "Filipino Time". Before it started, I noticed that more than half of the seats are AVAILABLE, so it got me thinking how did the tickets sold out? I noticed vacant seats in the closest row in our section and I seated there, though my ticket is for standing room only. The event ended and no one approach me that the seat is theirs. The only sections that were almost filled out are the patron and VIP sections and I bet more than half of those are complimentary. And I would also bet that half of the audience didnt know the fighters in the card. A couple of girls seated beside me and pretty sure that they have a complimentary tickets cause they dont know what are they watching. In the same row, are some of the supporters of the Lakay Wushu stable. Camp which produces Folayang, Banario and Belingon. They have a girl there which screams every second their boy fights. Its very annoying and irritating. Then, in the lower box there are Australian contingencies together with their beers. They are exhibionist, but I think they are cool. In the Patron section, there are Brazilian hotties with some of the local celebrities..
ONE FC is kinda entertaining. They have a fighter's entrance, just like in Pride together with the screaming lady <!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter" /> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0" /> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0" /> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1" /> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2" /> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth" /> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight" /> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1" /> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2" /> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth" /> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0" /> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight" /> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0" /> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect" /> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t" /> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_1" o:spid="_x0000_i1027" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="http://www.cdn.sherdog.net/forums/sd_miscimages/smiles/icon_lol.gif" style='width:14.25pt;height:14.25pt;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square'> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\TUMAGA~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="icon_lol" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--><!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_2" o:spid="_x0000_i1026" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="http://www.cdn.sherdog.net/forums/sd_miscimages/smiles/icon_lol.gif" style='width:14.25pt;height:14.25pt;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square'> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\TUMAGA~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="icon_lol" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->. and some minor fireworks..Plus, they have Yuji Shimada as a referee (the Head referee of Pride). They also have Matt Humes, I guess as fight director (IIRC that was also his job in Pride). The ring girls are two Korean cuties and they give their fellow Korean fighters a hug when they win. They actually dance in one of the Korean fighter's entrance, Gangnam Style, to the delight of the crowd.
The first two fights were a case of early stoppage. I can forgive the Banario-Benibe fight, but Wiratchai-Chilson stoppage was horrible. The ref Oshiro paid dearly for it, as he was booed for the remaining of the card. I just wonder why the ring announcer always said that the fight was stopped due to KO, which should only be a TKO. Phil Baroniwas ever entertaining and I am happy that he got TKO victory. He even carried the ring girl outside the ring. Belingon should clearly work on his wrestling and I dont know if Lakay Wushu has a wrestling coach, cause his takedown defense is pretty bad.Its sad that the crowd boo the Korean Soo Chul Kim despite his effort. I seriously think he will die after the fight. He cant even stand on his own. But I hope he is OK. The victory musical score went on play before the ref stopped the submission win of Gregor Gracie against Mann. It was beautiful armbar win..Igor Gracie gassed badly after the 2nd round, which resulted to the stoppage in the third. I was suprised that Rolles Gracie didnt went for a submission despite attaining numerous mount position. Renzo Gracie was well received by a group, I believe those are local BJJ practioner.
Its sad to see Pulver walked out with another TKO loss, though he held his own before the stoppage. Eric Kellyneeds to improved his striking defense cause he was being tagged frequently. I am confused on the rules on grounded opponent, the first 3 fights ended with some soccer kicks but AA-Sylvia was ruled a NC.Arlovski was robbed a TKO win. Tim was clearly dazed by a couple of big shots before those soccer kicks. Tim knew he would get TKO again, so he opted not to continue.Poor AA. Folayang-Enomoto was a fun fight, with the Filipino getting the obvious crowd support. I was suprised that Bibi Fernandes-Falciroli fight was the Main Event. It felt like an undercard fight. Some of the fans left the arena after the Folayang fight. I understand that Fernandes is the most relevant fighter in the event, but the management should have taken the name recognition factor in shaping out there card. There are only a handful in the audience who knew Fernandes. AA-Sylvia should have been the Main Event.
The post-fight press conference was unorganized, they set up the stage but was not used. and only Eric Kelly appeared for a brief interview. I was suprised that there are more than 10 local media members who covered the event. I understand some local TV stations, but others???
All in all, it was pretty entertaining. Two things that I regret. Not buying a premium ticket in advance and not buying a Samsung Galaxy S III, which I could have used to take photos of some of the fighters. Prominent MMA personalities that I seen, Greg Jackson, Renzo, Roger Gracie, Mike Swick. Too bad I didnt bring any camera.Poor me.<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_3" o:spid="_x0000_i1025" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="http://www.cdn.sherdog.net/forums/sd_miscimages/smiles/icon_cry2.gif" style='width:14.25pt;height:14.25pt;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square'> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\TUMAGA~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image002.gif" o:title="icon_cry2" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->