There’s one rule about being cageside at Strikeforce: You don’t talk about being cageside at Strikeforce. The reason being is that it doesn’t exist. It’s just a catch-word that people use to denote they were really close to a cage. The only thing that’s cageside is Esther Lin, maybe a few camera men and someone’s ego, slowly oozing over the arena like a sentient pile of ever-expanding Gak.
Last night’s Strikeforce Challengers marked the first event in the organization’s history after being purchased by ZUFFA. Actually, the company that purchased Strikeforce is called ‘Forza’ which is ‘Force’ in Italian. Thank Mike Chiappetta for that nugget of knowledge from his ZUFFA/Strikeforce article he published a few days ago. There’s also a Greek mythology lesson hidden somewhere in there if any of you care to read it.
As I carefully observed my surroundings like a proud short-eared owl father trying to protect his owlets from imminent danger, a few things stood out in the newly owned ‘StrikeForza’.
- It appeared that ex-WEC president, Reed Harris, was running things last night. Perhaps not ‘running things’, but he was definitely calling some shots. Yes, Reed Harris is a shot caller. Clad in a nicely constructed suit, Reed Harris instructed a few people cageside and appeared to give a few photographers instructions just before the event.
- Wicky Nishiura was at the event at it appears that he’s going to be fighting in the US very soon.
- UFC’s Burt Watson handled the weigh-ins and was actively working during the event. In general, a lot of stuff seemed to be going on backstage.
- Media access to the event was severely restricted, as evidenced by a ton of media outlets not receiving credentials.
- Media that were allowed to attend the event needed a ‘media escort’ to wander around the arena.
- Most of the Strikeforce employees seemed optimistic towards the entire ZUFFA purchase.
- Maybe I’m completely oblivious to the emergence of technology, but Strikeforce seemed to be operating with a lot of new gadgets, including new camera equipment.
- It was tough for everyone to score in-event interviews with fighters/personalities in the audience. Officials simply did not make it possible.
- The Stockton Arena was flooded with security, and rightly so. They were in the 209. Within the first five minutes of entering Stockton I saw two guys scrapping over a domino game in a park just a few blocks from the arena.
- If any of you have any doubts, Miesha Tate is a mega-star in MMA. Fan surrounded her like college students huddling over a breakfast burrito on a Friday night.