Chances are, if you’re reading this article you’re a fan of the UFC. Maybe you host the Pay Per View party or watch the fights at your local watering hole on a giant screen. You likely read the websites (heck, you’re on one right now) and purchase the odd DVD of your favorite knock outs. You may think that you’re getting the full UFC experience.
After this weekend, I need to tell you that you aren’t.
I had the pleasure of watching UFC 97 up close and in person in Montreal as part of the package offered by Crash MMA. The package included transportation to and from Montreal, hotel accommodation, tickets to the fights and plenty more.
Every detail of getting us to the fights was handled by Crash MMA and great care was taken to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Our bus was equipped with video screens so we could watch UFC fights as we travelled and wireless access for those who wished to stay connected. There were cool prizes given out to everyone on the trip and we arrived ready for an outstanding weekend.
There was a buzz in Montreal and it grew the closer we got to the Bell Centre. I saw several fighters walking the streets before and after the fights and it seems everyone in Montreal knows someone who knows someone who knows Georges St-Pierre.
One of my highlights was meeting UFC superstar Wanderlei Silva in our private, Crash MMA meet and greet on Saturday at our hotel. Silva signed autographs, posed for pictures and-had he not been such a nice guy-would have intimidated most of us in the room. Those who opted for the VIP package watched the fights from the luxury of a private box at the Bell Centre in the company of UFC stars Gray Maynard and Tyson Griffin. I think I might want to share my popcorn with those two guys next time (or any other UFC stars for that matter) and sit in the box.
On the trip home, those who weren’t sleeping off the fun of Saturday night agreed that there was no better way to take in UFC 97. And since this was likely the last time we will see Chuck Liddell inside the octagon, it was a neat feeling to know that we had been breathing the same air in Montreal that night.
There’s a bond between fight fans and before we arrived home there were e-mail addresses and Facebook friend requests exchanged between people who had been strangers just two days prior.
The buzz had followed us from Montreal all the way home and something tells me that it won’t be easy for anyone on that trip to go back to Pay Per View.