Monday morning and back to work with an early morning training session, surprisingly, considering the great weekend that Crash MMA put on for us. The Crash MMA team had a great concept creating an adventure for fans to truly enjoy the UFC experience. The trip began with a party bus atmosphere with the UFC fights being played on the bus, pre-fight predictions, answering fans questions about the fight game, and a little bit of a booze cruisin’ along the way! Once we arrived, the hotel was already arranged so all we had to do was drop of the bags, clean up quickly and then we were off to dinner. We then met up with former UFC Champ Sean Sherk and Chris Lytle for dinner at Gordon Bierche right beside the Nationwide Arena. Everyone’s tickets were already arranged so we all grabbed them and then we were off to the fights.
Onto the fights. Wow! As many of you know nothing compares to a live MMA fight, especially a UFC with 18,000 fans! One thing that you notice at the shows outside of Vegas is that the place is filled for the undercard, which is normally not the case in Vegas. It makes the undercard fighters get a little more recognition and obviously makes the fights more exciting with all the noise. All the fights were exciting and equally impressive, but a few of them clearly stood out for different reasons. The referring was brought to the table due to the problems that arose with some choices made during the bouts. I agree that being a ref is a VERY difficult job that requires split second decision making, but during the Aaron Riley fight he was clearly stopped far too early and the crowd and everyone in the building agreed. On the other end of the spectrum the Matt Brown one sided beating of Pete Sell was let go long past the point of no return by one of the best ref’s in the business Yves Lavigne. After this showing by both, the issue of referring will be under scrutiny in the near future. Aside from the mishaps, the fights that stood out for me where great performances by my friend Gray Maynard who took out a VERY tough and durable Jim Miller, which proved that Gray is ready for anyone in the lightweight division. Also, I was happy to see Kendal Grove back on track and proves he is always a threat due to his size and skill set. The main event was a great fight and lived up to questions about the Rampage that people may have been questioning, and proved again the toughness and grit of Keith Jardine but it was the semi main event that made people realize what Shane Carwin brings to the heavyweight division. A new breed of heavyweight is now here; the overly huge, overly powerful and overly threatening with one strike. I feel a lot of the smaller heavyweights will now begin to question the drop to 205lbs. Overall great fights.
Back to Crash MMA. The after party was already arranged with a guest list for all, and as per usual the party lead into the early hours of the morning. The time change that prompted an hour earlier wake up call was a little rough but the bus ride home filled with all the fans reliving the stories from the fight and night that passed made the ride much easier. The trip was a complete success for all involved and I would personally recommend anyone to take part in The Crash MMA UFC trips for any upcoming events.