When Bellator originally announced the card for their first PPV I knew I had to go. After the Rampage and Tito fight was pulled I was on the fence about going, but knowing that Chandler and Alvarez had the potential to be a crazy fight (again) I decided it was probably worth the trip to Long Beach. So I hit up Layzie the Savage and we linked up to pre-game 209 style (if you don’t know what that means you must be new here. Welcome) before enduring the inevitable clusterfuck of traffic that would lead us to the LBC.
Along the way we made a stop at Fatburger, where Layzie’s buddy Justin performed a feat of true gluttony and put down a 1.5 lb cheeseburger in front of our very eyes. It was a sight to behold and one I won’t soon forget.
We arrived at the Long Beach Arena and got settled into our seats in press row just in time for Riggs VS Bronzoulis. This being my first time covering an event rather than just being there as a fan I realized some hard truths. I wasn’t going to be able to drink, which was a first for me at a fight, and I wasn’t going to be able to cheer or clap during the fights. Riggs landed a flurry in the first that would normally have me jumping up and yelling something in excitement, but I told myself “I must remain professional. I must be cold. Emotionless.”. Luckily due to my ride out to the arena with Layzie I am in a zen-like state.
At the end of the first round I look up and see Riggs let out a deep breath as he heads into his corner. He isn’t exhausted but you can tell that he’s really putting it all out there. This will be a tough fight for him if it continues this way. I feel like in this moment I know how Riggs is feeling because of my time doing half-assed Muay Thai sparring sessions with Jason Nawara and my roommate Steve. Then I see Greg Jackson step into Riggs’s corner and I believe I see him mouth “It’s time. Let’s execute our game plan and ruin the sport of MMA”. Riggs nods and I start to believe that maybe there is something to the theory that Greg Jackson is singlehandedly trying to make mixed martial arts boring.
In round 2 Riggs does exactly what I expect him to do and starts to work his wrestling a bit more against Bronzoulis. Greg Jackson nods in approval as a few fans in the arena start to boo. Suddenly a lady behind us yells at Bronzoulis to “just get up” and as if on command, Bronzoulis gets up to his feet and starts to engage Riggs. Unfortunately for Bronzoulis this mysterious lady-coach doesn’t continue to walk him through the fight and Joe Riggs wins the fight proving that he really is the Fightmaster… or is it Greg Jackson? I didn’t watch the show so I’m not sure, but I’m happy for whoever it is.
Just as I start to really miss the option of being able to drink beer while enjoying the fights Strauss VS Curran begins and I am content… for now. At one point in the first round Strauss eats a kick to the genitals and a small but boisterous section of the crowd begins to chant “fuck you, Tito!” over and over again. I don’t see how Tito can be blamed for an accidental low blow, but I find it amusing. Then in the third Curran lands an illegal knee on Strauss while he is on the ground and the fight is halted. The chants start again. It seems Tito Ortiz will be blamed for everything that goes wrong tonight.
By this point my mouth is rather dry from my pre-game experience and nothing sounds better than an ice cold golden beer, but alas, I am a professional tonight. I must be cold. Emotionless. Which is really hard to do when the guy next to you smells like a walking fart. I now have a slight rage starting to build inside of me which is quickly shifted from fartboy to some obnoxious dudes in the crowd who start screaming right behind me when the ring girls bring out a t-shirt gun. It’s amazing to watch people turn into complete fools, if only for a brief moment, when free t-shirts are being shot from a cannon into their direction. It’s also quite annoying, and makes you wish you were drinking beer.
Soon after the t-shirt cannon is put away King Mo begins to walk out to James Brown’s The Payback. Sometimes I have a superpower that allows me to choose who is going to win a fight based on how I feel about their walkout music. It doesn’t always work but when I hear the sound of James Brown fill the arena I start to have a really good feeling about my superpower being on point. When Emanuel Newton begins his walk to the cage, with Christian rock music as his theme of choice, I realize that today my powers will be put to the test against Jesus. Unsurprisingly Jesus proves to be more powerful than I and Newtown walks away with the win after a very hard fought battle.
It’s now time for the main event but all I can think about is how much I want a beer and how much I’d like for fartboy to go to a different seat. There’s only one fight left so I tell myself “You’ve made it this far. You can do this.”, but I know it’s going to be tough.
Once the fight between Chandler and Alvarez begins I completely forget about farts and beer and become completely engrossed in the fight. The fact that these two guys are able to put on another war like they did truly amazes me. I want nothing more than to stand up and cheer for both men as they exchange on the feet, but I remember my mantra. I must be professional. I must be cold. Emotionless. I manage to hide my excitement externally, but internally I feel like an obnoxious drunk guy watching the fights at Buffalo Wild Wings. By the end of the fight I don’t really care who has won, I just know that I want to see these two fight again as it has been nothing short of incredible both times they’ve met in the cage.
It may not have been Bellator’s first PPV event, but it was a solid card and made for a rather entertaining evening for Layzie and myself.