Today the fighters for UFC 137 weighed in at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. I was there to cover it for UFC and Getty Images. Frank Mir was the special guest for the UFC Fight Club Q&A session, then there was an introduction of the new UFC Undisputed 3 video game. As a special treat for the fans, Chuck Liddell and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson battled each other on the game, playing as themselves in Pride mode. Liddell eventually won a back-and-forth battle by first round knockout with a head kick. After that, the fighters filed onto the stage one-by-one to make their scheduled weights. Only Tyson Griffin failed to make weight, coming in at 149 pounds for his scheduled 145-pound contest against Bart Palaszewski. Griffin was fined 25% of his show purse.
Headliners BJ Penn and Nick Diaz got into a tussle after weighing in and had to be separated by UFC President Dana White. From this photographer’s vantage point, it appeared that BJ Penn initiated contacted touching his forehead to Nick Diaz’s nose. Diaz in turn pushed back with his head and Dana White quickly jumped between them.
The UFC 137 final pre-fight press conference took place yesterday on the Brooklyn Bridge outside the New York New York Hotel and Casino. It was a beautiful day and the setting was perfect for this sort of event. UFC President Dana White opened the presser with an announcement that Jon Anik of ESPN’s MMA Live has joined the UFC. Personally, I think this is a great move for both UFC and Jon Anik. Other than that announcement, not much of note came out of the rather short press conference.
Just finished up my edit for the UFC 136 weigh in. As usual, covered for UFC and Getty Images. I’m a little fried from the long day, so I’ll get right to the good stuff. All fighters made weight, though a couple had to drop their drawers and utilize the towel. Chael Sonnen looked ripped. Gray Maynard looked confident, if even a bit cocky. Jose Aldo was all smiles, as usual.
Another day covering UFC for Getty Images. Today featured the UFC 136 open workouts for 8 of the feature fighters on the card. We also got our first peak at the layout for the UFC Fan Expo as the workouts were held in the Octagon inside the George R. Brown Convention Center.
As is typical for open workouts, the available light was minimal. So, I took the opportunity to use my off-camera wireless flash unit which I secured to the top of the cage with a GorillaPod. This made for a highly stylized look that I think turned out great. Not much interesting usually happens at these open workouts. Fighters typically don’t do anything strenuous two days out from their fight, so anything you can do to create your own drama helps.
Some members of the Houston Dynamo soccer club were in attendance and came in the Octagon for a publicity stunt that saw featherweight opponents Kenny Florian and Jose Aldo battling each other in a “kick off”. Both guys were high level soccer players prior to their fighting careers, so it proved interesting. Though UFC PR guru Dave Sholler declared it a draw, I scored it a clear victory for Florian.
Below is a small selection of my favorite shots from the day.
My first full day on the ground in Houston had me covering the UFC 136 pre-fight press conference for UFC and Getty Images. Even though it was an hour earlier than normal, it still wasn’t bad for me as the Toyota Center where the presser was hosted is across the street from my hotel. I love it when things work out like this, though it’s very rare.
Not much of note to report from the press conference. Chael Sonnen was rather somber and not talking much, if any, trash today. Quite a change for his usual presser behavior. Brian Stann was all class, as usual. Not much was asked of the four championship headliners on the dais – Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Jose Aldo, and Kenny Florian. The pace was pretty fast and before we knew it the guys were facing off. Maynard got right up in Frankie’s face, but Frankie didn’t back down at all. That made for a couple good shots.
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the short shoot.