A Users Guide
to going to a fight
As some of you know, I used to cover Local MMA around Shreveport, and last weekend, a friend of mine, Thomas from the 7poundmovies podcast, went to see a show in Natchitoches, LA. Oddly enough, this is the first show I have ever been to that I was not covering. It was a bit different, just sitting back and enjoying the fights.
To be honest, we went to see Quentin Henry’s second pro fight, plus the main event had two guys that I saw multiple times as amateurs, so seeing them was a bonus.
If you are a fan of MMA, you HAVE to go to your local shows, time has LONG passed where 0-0 guys fight in the UFC, and that 7-1 prospects had to get those 8 fights in local shows. Matt “Danger” Schnell is now 2-0 as a pro, winning BOTH times on National AXS TV for Legacy, and I have seen him multiple times growing as a fighter. Tony Kelly, Dillon Cowart and Jeff Humphries also should, if not make the UFC should find themselves in a Bellator bout or two. Don’t sleep on soon to be Pro Jason Cefalu, either. Not to mention Delanie Hall and Darnell Trotter who should also be on any fight fans radar (if either figure out what weight class they want).
Name dropping aside, I want to give some do’s and don’ts when it comes to seeing a local show, I’ve been to 6 different promotions, so this should be pretty much across the board for most shows.
1. GET THERE EARLY: I cannot stress this enough, most shows have 2-3 levels of seating, regular, reserve and cageside/tables. Most of the times the differences between reg and reserve is about 3-10 rows, depending on the venue. I’ve yet to see a show specify the seat, so you can normally pick out a choice seat at reg, better than some of the reserve seats. Best bet is to leave someone at the best seat you see, while you scout the rest in case you miss something.
What to look for:
A. Big Screen. Most shows have a Big projection of the fights, you almost want a better view of that than of the cage. The ref, people standing, the corner pads, ground fighting, can all get in the way. If you see multiple screens, look and see if any are showing ads, normally this is going to show ads all night, so ignore this one.
B. Entrances. Most local shows have 1 place where they come in and out. You want, if not close to that area, a view of it.
C. Concession area/bathrooms. If they are on one side, get on the other side. Lot of people will get in front of you.
2. Speaking of seating: DON’T move up. True, its easy, but so is that colored wristband you have on telling security where you are supposed to be. Don’t lose a good seat trying to get up, of course if 75% of reserved is empty? Ask. Most “security” are from the promotion, and they want to make sure you have fun, halfway in, most don’t care anymore if the rows are empty.
3. DO talk to the people around you.
Most fighters get a table for friends and teammates, but you never know if a fighters brother, teammate, highschool friend might be sitting next to you, heck, sometimes you can just have fun talking to another fan.
4. Don’t be an ass. Quite often you will see a group of guys yelling for a particular group of fighters, and wearing the shirts from that gym. You know if one of those fighters gets beaten, Don’t call him a bum. These people are protective, and rightfully so. A guy in the UFC deserves to be called a dumbass for sitting in a crucifix for half a round cause he’s turned the wrong way, a guy that’s 2-1 as an amateur is still learning. If you get stomped by half a dozen guys from Evolution MMA cause you were calling out a guy who just tapped, don’t expect any sympathy.
5. Do Coach from the stands. Nothing is funnier than when a group of guys start chanting “hand on hip” during a fight. Its rare. But funny. The fighter won’t hear you, but his corner might.
6. Finally, take a camera. It STUNS me how nice these guys are, and how willing they are to take pictures. Most fighters wander around pre-show and the majority wander around after their fight- unless they are cornering a teammate. These guys bust their ass and a “good fight” from a fan always seems to get a thank you from them. Its part of the fun of a local show. Don’t forget to see who else is out there. I’ve met Rich Clementi, Sam Hogar to name drop a little more, and Drew met Carlos Condit, all three checking out teammates or coaching. Rich and I talked for a good 15 minutes outside and he couldn’t have been nicer. (As well as informative on the fights, Rich taking my comments kindly, and pointing out what an idiot I am in the nicest possible way.)
Finally, DO go to a local show, most around here are 25 bucks for the regular shows, see the next generation, get a few pictures, (the next fighter I see turn down a picture or an autograph is the first one) and let me know how it goes.
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