When I was 9 and by brother was 7, we used to go to the video store with my dad and rent the Ultimate Fighting Champion fights on video cassette. We’d watch every UFC PPV as soon as it hit Blockbuster. It was such a different sport back then, where hair pulling, groin strikes, and all types of vicious street fight type maneuvers were legal.
Fast forward 17 years, and I was fortunate enough to attend UFC 100 at the Mandalay Bay with my dad and my brother, witnessing the evolution of a sport I have grown to love. The event was remarkable from start to finish, and I found it pretty surreal that I have witnessed close to 100 Ultimate Fighting Championship events.
Tickets for UFC 100 never went on sale to the public. My brother purchased an eighty dollar UFC fight club membership to specifically have the rights to purchase UFC 100 tickets before they went on sale to the general public. Looking back, the investment turned out to be worth it.
A shot of Mandalay Bay near the pool. I took this with my phone.
We touched down in Las Vegas around 10:30, and immediately sought a taxi to take us to the casino. While making our way to the airport shuttle lobby, we ran into Marcus Davis and Eddie Bravo. Both guys were pleasant and were nice enough to take a picture with us.
Eddie Bravo, Me, Marcus Davis
We arrived at the Mandalay Bay casino at on July 9th around 11pm. Upon entering the casino we met Robbie Lawler and Lyoto Machida. Machida was standing in line waiting to check in when a swarm of fans greeted him. He looked a little surprised, and taken back a bit.
Exhausted from a long flight, we opted not to go out and party, but rather play a little 1-2 no limit Texas Hold’em. We shared a poker room with Krystof Sozynski and James Wilks.
The next day we hit up the UFC Fan expo. I thought the fan expo would be the highlight of my trip, but it turned out to be a massive disappointment. We stood online for an hour just to get in. I have never stood on a line so long in my entire life. When we got into the expo, there were humongous lines just to get to each booth. We didn’t wait in any of them. We checked out some of the merchandise booths and got pictures with Amir Sadollah, Grey Maynard, Anthony Johnson and Gilbert Yvel. We received free samples of nutritional supplements, free magazines, key chains, got pictures in the UFC octagon and even had our punching power tested. I didn’t meet any of the big name fighters. Our time in Las Vegas was short and we weren’t too excited to wait in a line for 3 hours to get a few pictures and autographs. I have met a lot of big names already, and the novelty has kind of worn off.
I remember leaving the fan expo kind of annoyed at Dana White for selling so many fan expo tickets, but my opinion on this would change. More on that later.
Price/Affliction veteran Gilbert Yvel and me.
My brother, father, and I headed back to the casino where I shared an elevator with Shogun, who didn’t want to take pictures with any fans. A group of irate fans told him he sucked, among other things, after he refused to take pictures with them.
Sharing an elevator with Shogun.
Later in the evening I played 3-card poker with Karo Parisyan. He was very cool to chat with and even snapped a picture with my brother and I.
My brother, Karo Parisyan, me
Finally, it is time. On Saturday, July 11th we entered the Mandalay Bay Event center. When I entered the arena, the feeling was indescribable. I’ve put so much passion, effort, and emotion into to this sport and to be able to attend this milestone with my brother and father event was just incredible.
I was a bit worried, however. More of then then not, when a UFC PPV has a lot of hype around it, it usually ends up disappointing for one reason or another. UFC 100 would live up to everything that I expected, however, and I had the time of my life.
From start to finish, there was never a boring fight. Shannon Gugerty and Matt Grice would open the event. Grice wouldn’t last long, as he succumbed to a guillotine choke that left his body lifeless on the octagon canvas for a good eight to ten seconds. The next fight saw “Filthy” Tom Lawlor entertain the arena as he came out to “Who Let the Dogs Out”. This was a nice little stab at CB Dollaway, his opponent, who’s nicknamed “The Doberman”. Dollaway would suffer the same fate as Matt Grice, although Dollaway only lasted 55 seconds in the octagon. Again, a vice grip like guillotine choke would leave Dollaway lifeless on the canvas. Dong Hyun Kim, Jon Jones, and Jim Miller would all have dominating performances over their opponents. Mark Coleman was impressive as he repeatedly took down Stephan Bonnar in route to a unanimous decision.
The first fight on the main card was Alan Belcher vs Yoshihiro Akiyama. This was Akiyama’s UFC debut and he was pitted against a very game Alan Belcher. Akiyama would end up winning the fight, but I think Belcher might have had it. I have to re watch it. There was a chorus of boos when the decision was announced and Joe Rogan was not pleased with the decision either.
Next up, Michael Bisping would finally meet his maker. I was looking forward to this match because I knew Dan Henderson has talent eons above what Bisping has been facing in the UFC. After all the trash talking about knocking Henderson out, Bisping became the recipient of one of the most devastating knockouts I have ever seen. At that moment, 4 different friends text messaged me saying they couldn’t have been happier. I was too. I hate Bisping. Welcome to real competition Mikey boy. You have been humbled.
Dan Henderson celebrates after knocking Michael Bisping out cold.
GSP dominated in typical fashion, Lesnar lived up to the hype, and Jon Fitch fought a typical Jon Fitch match as all three superstars walked out of UFC 100 with wins.
After arriving home and reading some UFC news, I see that Dana White awarded $100,000 dollar bonuses to the fighters who had won submission of the night, knockout of the night, and fight of the night. The usual bonus is $60,000, so it’s nice to see that some of the fan expo money went directly to the fighters and not directly into the pockets of the promoters.
All in all, I had a blast. The event lived up to the hype and so much more. Dana White says that UFC 100 isn’t a milestone; they are just getting started. MMA has come such a long way since I was a nine-year-old boy renting fights on VHS with my brother and my dad. I can’t wait to see where it goes next, and hopefully I am around for UFC 200.
Me and Gray Maynard
The Octagon at the expo
Me and Anthony Johnson. I can’t believe this guy fights at 170.
My brother is about to get his punching power tested.