There's a lot of ink in San Diego and a lot of people who drink Bud Light and ride Harley's. Thats why Dana White brought the well-oiled circus that is UFC-- Ultimate Fighting Championships to America's Finest City. AspenSpin showed up at the San Diego Sports Arena for the UFC on Versus Live press conference and weigh in. Talk about antique shows, the SD Sports Arena is clearly past its prime. With no NBA or NHL teams in San Diego the arena hosts flea markets, truck-pulls and Eddie Money type head liners. We have no pre-conceived notions about UFC. We've never even seen UFC on TV... or any Mixed Martial Arts bouts.....although we've been exposed to tons of commercials.
Full disclosure; A-Spin once attended a live Muy Thai event in Bangkok, but we paid extra to sit in the "tourist section" which was separated from the locals by chicken wire. That event was a near riot and extremely sketchy. The UFC has a more refined presentation than their Bangkok fore fathers. Everything at the presser was done to precision. 2-3pm Q & A with announcer Mike Goldberg (Goldie) and fighter Krzysztof Soszynski a.k.a The Polish Experiment. 3-4 pm autographs and photos, and 4-4.30 the weigh in and square-off photos with Dana. It was obvious that everyone knew the drill. 5PM Double-Double at In-n-Out.
A few observations: Almost all the fighters and 100% of the fans wear tatoos. The punks in the stands love to talk big smack about their favorite MMA fighters. The fan base is rabid about UFC. The kids, the women, the hard-core MMA types---they are all into it.--big time. Journalists from Japan and the Phillipino channel were on hand along with MMA's #1 scribe, Areil Helwani from AOL. Its not quite the major leagues yet, as MMA only has four beat writers in the U.S. (two are from Vegas). Everyone but A-Spin knew that Jon "Bones" Jones is the next big thing in UFC and that he'll probably take out UFC vet Vladimir Matyushenko in the main event. President Dana White is a larger-than-life cult figure, energizing the crowd every step of the way. We've heard that Aspen local Ted Davenport is lining him up for a base-jumping lesson. We'd pay to see that vid. The fighters are in incredible shape, they look tough and mean as sh*t. Once they get into the "world famous" Octagon--anything can happen, as long as Dana OK's it.
A-Spin has to miss the actual event, but we'll Tivo it. UFC combines the officiousness and striking of big-time boxing, the physicality of Olympic-style Greco-Roman wrestling and the hype of WWE. We predict a HUGE win in this made-for-TV event. Bet on the great black hope, the New York playa, Jonnie "Bones" Jones.