It’s a question I heard a lot from pro photographers baking out in the sun for the hour prior to EliteXC’s weigh-ins for Saturday’s big show on CBS at the Prudential Center. Despite the light sunburn, I realize people like to witness things for themselves. Be it tragedy or miracle, you have a better story if you were there. If you’re in the area, why not see Kimbo Slice or Gina Carano in person? Plus, if you’re like me, you try to revel in those silly moments that web videos of the weigh-ins won’t impart as well.
One thing the crew at the Prudential Center did not anticipate was that the black plastic surface of the weigh-in stage would be hot after an hour or two in direct sunlight. James Thompson hopped over to the scale and then did the little hot coal dance back to his shoes after weighing in. Nothing like seeing the toughest guys in the world skipping around muttering, “Ow ow ow.” After eight matchups, the crew finally laid down two rugs by the scale.
Shaquille O’Neal showed up to the weigh-ins and someone called out to announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. to make note of his arrival, but by the time Lennon saw, Shaq had snuck into the air-conditioned lobby of the Prudential. A fan yelled out, “Didn’t you see him?” Jimmy Lennon looked embarrassed and admitted, “I’m sorry, I didn’t – he was a bit smaller than I thought.”
Next, Jimmy Lennon announced Gina Carano to the stage and everyone clapped and cheered. But when he said, “Gina Carano weighs in at 144 and a half pounds.” The contracted weight for this women’s MMA feature is 140 and the New Jersey Commission has a one pound allowance for non-title bouts. The cheers turned into a slow awkward clap, trailing into silence.
Then Kaitlin Young bravely stepped up to the scale without her sandals, even at the urging of the publicist, and posed proud. The photographer next to me pointed at Kaltlin’s feet and whispered, “Shit! Well she’s tougher than all these guys.”
When it was Joey VillaseÃ±or and Phil Baroni’s turn to square off, VillaseÃ±or got in Baroni’s face, pressing nose against nose. Yesterday during the ride back from the press conference, VillaseÃ±or confessed, “No one’s ever talked shit to me before a fight. [Baroni] brought out the cholo in me and I didn’t even know there was a cholo in there.”
The weigh-ins were rounded out with fighters from the internet bouts which will be streamed on both ProElite.com and CBSSports.com. Nick Serra, Matt Serra’s younger brother, is fighting on the internet show and he posed with his monkey mask.
When you watch the stream, look out for Wilson Reis and Carlton Haselrig. Reis is one of the top prospects at 140 for EliteXC and Haselrig is a well-decorated former college Heavyweight wrestler.