Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal

I apologize for my tardiness in posting this blog entry. I had wanted to get it done on Monday or Tuesday, but I just couldn’t find the time. As most of you know, I covered the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal fight down in San Diego last weekend for Getty Images, Strikeforce, and Showtime Sports. The fights were held at the old San Diego Sports Arena, now called the Valley View Casino Center. It’s a decent venue to see fights, but unfortunately the crowd for this show was not as large as expected. It’s a shame too, because there were some great fighters on the card.

Aside from a fairly odd night of fights, I had to deal with a number of issues throughout the night. For the first 4-5 fights, it seemed like the lighting would change for every fight. It was very difficult to get a consistent exposure and I found myself worrying more about my shots being exposed than focusing on getting the best shots. The night had a very frantic pace to it because of this stress. Several of the early bouts were long bouts, but not very exciting. It wasn’t until Roger Bowling knocked out Jerron Peoples that we finally got some excitement. Caros Fodor followed that up with a brilliant KO of Justin Wilcox. Fodor is one of my guys to look out for in the next year or two.

Once the broadcast started, my position was moved to an abnormal placement, directly behind the red corner. This caused me two problems. First, I couldn’t stand on the box during the introductions because the corner men use it to hold their banner and talk to their fighter. Second, I could not get any good shots of the red corner fighter between rounds, other than the directly overhead shots of them sitting on the stool, which are not at all flattering most of the time.

Given all the issues though, I think it was a good night overall. The Melendez/Masvidal fight definitely produced the most keepers. And while I had a horrible angle to capture the Cyborg KO, I did get some great reaction shots of her immediately after the knockout.

So, without further adieu, here are my favorites from the night. Full take is available for viewing at Getty Images.

Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal – Images by Joshua Hedges

Strikeforce Press Conference Gallery

Today, we drove down to Mission Valley for the final pre-fight presser for the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal card. Former San Diego Charges linebacker Junior Seau hosted the event at his restaurant, named Seau’s of course.

All eight fighters from the televised card were in attendance, including Gilbert Melendez, Jorge Masvidal, Cris Cyborg, Hiroko Yamanaka, Gegard Mousasi, Ovince St-Preux, KJ Noons, and Billy Evangelista. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker opened the press conference by announcing briefly that Strikeforce would be sticking around with the renewal of their deal with Showtime, but quickly intimated that he would not address any questions regarding the deal during the press conference. He asked that all questions be addressed to the fighters on the card and pertain to the fights on the card. Of course, as everyone expected, the first question asked was about the new deal. Haha…

Nothing much exciting or groundbreaking happened, so here’s a small selection of photos to document the event. Check Getty Images. for the full take.

Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges

Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal Open Workouts

Today marked the first full day of work covering the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal event here in San Diego. I got up this morning and drove over to The Arena MMA, conveniently located in the shadow of the San Diego Sports Arena (I refuse to refer to this place by it’s new moniker Valley View Casino Center). A total of eight fighters cycled through the gym over the course of the day, and while the media turnout was bleak and the fighters didn’t get too crazy with their workouts, I still feel like I came away with some decent stuff.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I’m a big fan of off-camera flash for workouts. I mounted my Canon 580ex speedlite on a small kit stand and raised it to the top shelf (about 7′ high), and positioned it at roughly 90-degrees to my starting position. Though, at times, I roamed around the room putting the camera at various angles with respect to the light. The low white ceiling in the gym presented a challenge, as I typically go for the very dramatic lighting for the workouts. Usually, I point the flash straight up and use an omni-bounce over the face to diffuse the light. Doing that inside this gym, though, would have made the ceiling a huge soft box and created a very flat overhead light look, which frankly just isn’t what I like for workout images. So, I left the face of the flash bare and pointed it directly across the room to control the spread as much as possible. Unfortunately, doing this also means you have to depend on your subject to stay within a more narrow path to be hit with the light. I guess you could say I got lucky. I always try to prepare as best as possible, but sometimes, things just come down to luck. Take the Melendez stretching shots at the end of his workout series. Had he moved just a few feet to his right, or even just turned the other direction, the photos would have been considerably worse.

Anyways… On to the gallery. This is the full take that I transmitted to Getty Images.

Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges