In the MMA blogosphere you can either earn the respect of your peers by working hard or you can become a hated pariah for shit-talking everyone under the sun. This weekend we got to see first hand the kind of hilarious aftermath of being the latter when we attended XMMA 7 in Montreal.
For those of you that are just tuning in, XMMA has quickly become the largest fight organization in Montreal, due mostly to the fact that the players behind it have a lot of pull and a good deal of star power behind them. The show was originally supposed to headline a number of decent names like Phil Baroni and Chris Cyborg. Their participation was curtailed however, when Strikeforce came a-callin’, and in an effort to save the event XMMA hired Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver to headline their show. We were going regardless, but the possibility of seeing War Machine get beaten was a nice bit of icing on the cake.
It was a shit day outside. It was raining, and the melting snow was creating gigantic puddles all over the place. I unwisely decided to leave the giant snow boots at home, and as a result, my crappy shoes were soaked to the bone. This wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that the only arenas in this city are hockey ones, so while we did have floor seats, the actually physical floor itself was just paneling over frozen ice, and my feet felt like two giant popsicles after about 10 minutes.
While the show was still setting up, we ran into John Ramdeen from The Fight Network, and while we were shooting the shit, Mauro Ranallo showed up and asked us “which one of you is Fightlinker?” We responded that it was essentially the two of us, and Ranallo followed that with “I was expecting someone cooler”. I started to laugh, saying “Holy shit dude, we just got burned by Mauro Ranallo here!”, but it didn’t look like he was too happy about that comeback. He walked off in the midst of our laughing at the hilarity of the situation, no doubt pissed off. Hey, what can I say: we’re dicks.
We walked around a bit to get the layout of the place. Half of the arena was blocked off by a giant sheet, indicating clearly that the change in cards had severely affected their ticket sales. The VIP tables were your stereotypical french affair. There was a bottle of wine and a bunch of bread on the table. I’m not sure if they know what fight fans drink, but what the hell do I know about the VIP experience, right?
The fight program had about 4 ads for strip joints, and one extremely tantalizing sex shop ad featuring girls with gigantic oiled up fake tits. It reminded me why i love this province so much.
The show actually started off with a bunch of hot chicks who were dancing with flaming sticks and were spewing fireballs all over the place. I didn’t know whether i should move my boner to the side or be scared that the place would burn down. It was totally unnecessary, and totally wicked.
Since I had a photographer pass, I got to actually photograph some of the fights from the sweetest spot in the whole arena: hanging over the cage which is normally reserved for the cameramen. I got to try and take some epic pictures, but my camera is mostly shit, so this picture is the best I could come up with. I was too busy enjoying the view to really focus on the fight itself, but it was a pretty awesome experience to see people fight that close up. This was the best picture I could take during the whole event. Esther Lin I am not.
There was a french interview chick that was pretty hot, but it was obvious that she wasn’t a real MMA fan. After one fight she started interviewing the losing fighter, asking him how it felt to win. Needless to say it was uncomfortable for everyone, and by the time she realized her mistake, the damage had been done. From that moment on, you could see the look of defeat in her eyes. I felt bad, but then I remembered that she is hot, and that no one really cares.
One of the fighters, Derek Gautier, had about 5 hot chicks come out with him. He was being sponsored by a strip joint, so they had sent their hottest dancers to see him onto the ring. Marketing wise, it was brilliant. The girls themselves had no fucking clue what was going on, and even after their boy won, they were still asking what had happened. They were directly behind us, and it was hard to fight the temptation to to stare directly at their giant bouncing titties. I figured since they are usually naked they wouldn’t mind me staring just a little.
The fights themselves were rather awkward affairs. It was a nights marked by failed rear naked choke attempts, and aside from 2 of the fights, the pace felt slowed and stalled by them. It made what was otherwise a good card into a subpar one. One of the highlights of the night wasn’t so much a fight was it a prop. when Steve Claveau came out, he was wearing a beaver hat with Stephan Patry’s face on it. He left it behind after his loss, but with Georges St Pierre standing over it we were too chickenshit to try and snatch it up.
The fight we were really interested in seeing was obviously the War Machien vs De Lorenzi one, if only for the potential of seeing Mr Machine get beat. The fight started in De Lorenzi’s favor, as he was controlling the fight well, but eventually War Machine took his back, and from then on it was only a matter of time before Guillaume was submitted. After the fight War Machine taunted his downed opponent like any good douche would.
We booked it out of there and hooked up with some of the Jackals that had come down from Quebec City to see the fights. They came over to watch UFC Knockouts and smoke a little grass. One of the Jackals got sick as a dog and was puking his guts out. I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do to prevent him from yackin’.
All in all it wasn’t a bad night event wise, although I didn’t pay a dime for it, so this shit is always at least moderately entertaining for me. I can understand how some fans must have been pissed as the fact that so many of the big names pulled out, and it was obvious by the attendance that very few people gave a shit who War Machine was, as half the audience had cleared out by the time he showed up. Those who stayed where they either because they liked Guillaume or because they hated War Machine. Clearly, this man is poisonous to any fight org.
I’m looking forward to their next event, in the hopes that some of the local fighter guys learn how to actually pull of a rear naked choke. Only time will tell…