The World Traveler

I apologize for neglecting my blog so badly the past few months. I promise to do a better job and keep everyone better informed of my whereabouts around the globe in 2013 and beyond.

As you may or may not know, I’m smack in the middle of a 15 day road trip. I spent the first 9 days traveling to and working in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This was the first time I had ventured outside of the airport in Sao Paulo, and I was pleasantly surprised. The weather was the first surprise. We were met with rain as soon as we walked out of the terminal to get our car, and for the most part, the rain didn’t let up for the rest of the trip.

The one thing I was told about Sao Paulo before I arrived was that the traffic is even worse than Rio de Janeiro. I don’t know if I just have good luck or people were lying to me, but I found that statement to be completely false. It took only 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport, and all our journeys between the hotel and the various shooting locations were much quicker than planned, as well.

The skies parted for a few hours last Wednesday for the UFC open workouts at Parque Anhangaba├║ near the city’s center. The usual cast of characters, including the main event and co-main event contestants, and a handful of local talent, put on a show for the crowd that gathered. The location was pretty neat, and the weather was much more accommodating than I have been used to during outdoor workouts in the past.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 16:  A general view of the venue as fighters participate in an open workout session for media and fans on January 16, 2013 at Parque Anhangaba├║ in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 16: A general view of the venue as fighters participate in an open workout session for media and fans on January 16, 2013 at Parque Anhangaba├║ in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After the usual pre-fight routine of portraits, press conference, and weigh-in, it was finally fight day. I headed over to Ibirapuera Gymnasium way early to get a lay of the land and scout locations for remotes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a spot I felt was safe to remove a remote unattended throughout the night, so I canceled that idea.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  A general view of the Octagon before the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: A general view of the Octagon before the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The first preliminary fight started about 8:45 pm local time. With eleven fights on the card, it was shaping up to be a long night. The arena was more than half full for the first fight and the fans erupted when their countryman, Francisco Trinaldo, finished C.J. Keith with an arm triangle choke. For the most part, the crowd was pretty calm after that, until Sao Paulo and TUF Brasil 1 finalist Daniel Sarafian entered for his bout against C.B. Dolloway. Unfortunately for the crowd, Sarafian came out on the losing end of the decision and the fans showed their displeasure by booing Dolloway so loudly that I couldn’t hear a word he said in his post-fight interview.

Finally, at nearly 1:30 am, it was time for the main event. Michael Bisping walked out first to a strong chorus of boos. His opponent, Vitor Belfort was met with a nice reaction from the crowd, though nothing like Sarafian experienced. Vitor looked fired up and ready to destroy.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  Vitor Belfort enters the arena before his middleweight fight against Michael Bisping at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: Vitor Belfort enters the arena before his middleweight fight against Michael Bisping at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

And destroy he did. Belfort controlled the action in round one, landing a number of significant kicks and punches. Then, in round two, he unleashed a left high kick to the side of Bisping’s head, putting him down on the canvas. Belfort followed up with a series of hammer-fists forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight. The crowd went nuts, as did Vitor.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  Vitor Belfort reacts after defeating Michael Bisping in their middleweight fight at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: Vitor Belfort reacts after defeating Michael Bisping in their middleweight fight at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After completing my edit and packing everything up, I was en route back to the hotel by 3:30 am. I had some more work to do once I got back, so I didn’t finally make it to bed until sometime after 6:00. My alarm rang bright and early at 9:00 am for my next assignment. I headed back to the arena to cover the elimination fights for TUF Brasil 2. And that’s about all I can say about that for now.

The next two days were also spent covering various aspects of the upcoming reality show, until I was finally in a car headed back to the airport about 5:30 pm Tuesday evening. I flew straight to Chicago for this week’s UFC on FOX card; landing at about 6:00 am local time Wednesday morning after an 11-hour flight. I had just enough time to get to the hotel and take a shower before I was back in a car headed to the UFC Gym for the open workouts.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  A general view of the workout area before the UFC on FOX open workouts on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 23: A general view of the workout area before the UFC on FOX open workouts on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This particular UFC Gym location had just been transformed from it’s previous moniker, LA Boxing. I mean that literally as apparently they were still under construction the day before. Everything had that “brand new, wrapped in plastic” smell. I did a quick once-over and decided on locations to place a few speedlites. The overhead florescent lights did not provide the look I was going for, so of course I came prepared with four of my Canon 600EX-RT units. And, for the next four hours, I clicked away as various fighters cycled through the gym to workout for media. The whole day was really a blur, but I actually came away with several shots I was happy with.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Quinton "Rampage" Jackson conducts an open workout session for media on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 23: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson conducts an open workout session for media on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After the workouts, I headed back to the hotel to work on my edit and finally had a chance to relax and take a look out the window. It had just started snowing. It was then that I realized less than 36 hours before, I was wearing shorts and flip-flops. Now I was freezing in my hotel room and couldn’t get the heater hot enough.

The usual press conference followed on Thursday, and today saw us head back to the Chicago Theatre once again for another weigh-in. I love it when we do weigh-ins inside these old historic theatres. They create such a cool atmosphere and make for really nice wide photos.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 25:  A general view of the theatre as Anthony Pettis and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 25: A general view of the theatre as Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

All fighters made weight and nothing much of interest happened, other than a moment of uncertainty before Quinton “Rampage” Jackson stepped on the scale for his final UFC weigh-in. He appeared to apologize to the commission official and UFC coordinator Burt Watson, and you could see Watson was visibly upset as he stepped back while Rampage hopped on the scale. But then the weight was announced as 204 pounds. I’m not sure what exactly was said, but I was expecting him to be well overweight after seeing that unfold. After making weight, Rampage proceeded to get in the face of his opponent, Glover Teixeira, and give him a tongue-lashing as they faced off.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 25:  (L-R) Opponents Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Glover Teixeira face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 25: (L-R) Opponents Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Glover Teixeira face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Tomorrow is yet another early call to head over for a long day at the arena. I’ll do my best to get some shots up before I head back home Sunday morning. But, until then, I leave you with a few slideshows from the last couple weeks.


UFC on FX 7 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FX 7 Weigh-in – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FX 7: Belfort v Bisping – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FOX 6 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FOX 6 Weigh-in – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FX: Johnson v McCall

Greetings everyone. I’m writing to you this morning from the Ft. Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport as I await my 6am flight back home. I barely had enough time to finish and upload my edit before heading to the airport.

The UFC hit South Florida again last night with the rematch of Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall’s controversial 125-pound title eliminator after their first bout in Sydney earlier this year was ruled a draw. The undercard was filled with scrappy fighters who may not be household names (yet), but still bring it.

The biggest surprise of the night, at least in my opinion, was Mike Pyle knocking out Josh Neer in the first round. Neer had been dominating the action and appeared close to finishing the fight himself when out of nowhere Pyle threw a looping overhand right with his back up against the fence and landed it flush on Neer’s chin, face planting Neer for the KO with just seconds left in the round.

In another shocking finish, Eddie Wineland knocked out Scott Jorgensen after overcoming a nasty gash he suffered from a Jorgensen knee. This was by far the most impressive performance of Wineland’s career to date, and was just as impressive of a performance from Jorgensen up until the knockout. The two were rewarded with the Fight of the Night Award for their efforts.

Young Brazilian Erick Silva was fighting for the first time outside of his home country and he didn’t seem to be bothered by any nerves or jet lag as he finished tough wrestler Charlie Brenneman with a rear choke in the first round, adding another impressive finish to his resume.

In the main event, Johnson and McCall went at it again for three fast-paced rounds. This time, Johnson left little doubt in the eyes of the judges, dropping McCall and overall landing much more than his opponent. McCall had his moments, but was only able to win one of the three rounds. After the third round, everybody in attendance wanted it to go to a sudden victory round, but it was not in the cards as Johnson scored a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 decision victory and earned a shot at the vacant flyweight title against Joseph Benavidez.

Below is a selection of my shots from the night.


UFC on FX 3: Johnson v McCall – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FX Open Workouts

I am on the ground in Sunrise, Florida preparing for Friday’s next UFC card featuring the rematch of flyweight contenders Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall. Today, the fighters on the card made the quick trek across the street to hold an open workout session for fans and media at the Sawgrass Mills Mall, which by the way is probably the largest mall I think I’ve ever been to. The workout was hosted in an atrium area, just inside one of the main entrances into the mall, in a fairly high traffic area. There was a good amount of fans and media there, which was a bit surprising to me being on a Wednesday afternoon.

As I’m sure you probably guessed, I broke out my trusty FourSquare again. The ambient scene was not very pleasing to my eye with the various assorted logos, signs, and banners hanging around the mall, so I decided to load up all four of my speedlites in the FourSquare and really overpower the ambient light. The mat area was a bit larger than normal, so I opened up the zooms on the flash units to 50mm to get a bit more spread. The FourSquare (without baffle) was placed on a light stand about 8 feet from the mat near the center line raised to about 10 feet high and angled down just slightly. For the most part, my position was shooting from one of the two forward corners of the mat such that the angle between me and the light was around 60-70 degrees with relation to the subject. For some shots, I moved more to the side creating a near 90-degree angle and completely side-lighting the fighter. But, as you can imagine, they move around quite a bit, so it’s really tough to get a consistent lighting effect. One other aspect that I really had to contend with a lot today was the trainers holding pads. Often times when the fighter was in a perfect position to me and threw a punch that I caught, he was completely blocked from the light by his trainer. I wish I had a tall light stand to help with this, but sometimes you just have to pay closer attention and be a little more patient.

I shot everything with two cameras running Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 units with AC3 zone controllers on top. all four speedlites were set to zone A and initially set to full power. I used the AC3 to dial down the power to 1/4 power for most of the shoot. Camera settings varied a bit throughout the day, but the most common settings I kept going back to were ISO 800, 1/2000s, f2.8. That was about 2 1/3 stops over the ambient exposure, which is exactly what I was looking for to make for a less distracting background. I could have used fewer flashes at a higher power setting to achieve the same exposure, but I wanted the faster recycle time. At 1/4 power, the flashes recycle in about a second or less, as opposed to nearly 3 seconds at full power. And of course, at the lower power setting, you have less heat and longer battery life. I ended up shooting about 400 shots in total today and the flash units all still had plenty of power to keep going when it was over. For some shots, I decreased the power even more and slowed my shutter to bring in some of the background. The wider zoom on the flashes also lit up a little bit more of the background and the white ceiling and walls than I wanted, but that was the compromise I had to make in order to cover the most mat space.

Below is a slideshow of the shots from today. Please post your comments or questions.


UFC on FX 3 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FX 2: Kampmann v Alves

Greetings again from beautiful Sydney, Australia. I apologize for the tardiness of my post, but what can I say, we’ve been enjoying our stay here now that the sun has finally shined for three days straight. If you follow me on Facebook (and “why not?” if you don’t), then you’ve probably seen my collection of tourist snaps from the last few days. It has truly been amazing. Yesterday we did the Bridge Climb, scaling up to the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back down. I was slightly terrified starting out, but 5 minutes into the climb, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I recommend anyone who has the chance to ever do it, please do. You will not be disappointed.

Ok, enough of that. You’re probably here to read about fights and look at bloody pictures. As I said before, the third UFC event in the great nation of Australia took place last Saturday at the Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park in what was then a very rainy Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The main event featured welterweight contenders Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann battling to climb the ladder closer to a title shot in one of the more stacked divisions in the UFC. Thiago Alves looked well on his way to winning the fight by unanimous decision when in the third round, he shot in for a takedown and left his neck out for Kampmann to sink in a guillotine choke and force the tapout. Kampmann earned the submission of the night bonus for his come-from-behind performance.

The main card also featured a tournament to crown an inaugural flyweight champion in the newly established 125-pound division. Joseph Benavidez made quick work of world #2 Yasuhiro Urushitani with a TKO just seconds into the second round. But, the real excitement and controversy occurred in the other semifinal between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall. McCall has long been considered the top dog at 125 pounds, but “Mighty Mouse” still seemed to be the favorite going into the fight after coming down in weight after a highly successful run at 135 pounds. All three rounds of the bout were action packed. The first two were close and could have gone either way. The third round saw McCall take control and get the fight to the ground. He closed out the fight with a series of smashing punches from Johnson’s back. When the score cards were read, awarding Johnson a majority decision victory, the crowd let out a raucous boo in unison. And they were right. It was later revealed that the score cards were tallied wrong and the scored should have been a majority draw, and thus there should have been a fourth and deciding round. A furious Dana White made right, awarding both fighters a win bonus and awarding them both the fight of the night bonus. The rematch to decide the second finalist for the flyweight title will take place at a future show, depending on the health of both fighters coming out of this bout. I, for one, won’t at all be upset about seeing these two go at it again.

Below is a gallery of shots from throughout the night. As always, check UFC.com and Getty Images for the full take.


UFC on FX 2: Alves v Kampmann – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FX 2 open workout gallery

Ian McCall - UFC on FX 2 Open WorkoutsHello again from not-so-sunny Sydney, Australia. Today was a complete wash-out, so I never made it out of the hotel. Here’s hoping for better weather the rest of my stay here. My wife Jody and her sister will be arriving in the morning, and I’m hopeful their first trip to Australia will be filled with all the great sights I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Luckily, the bad weather allowed me to focus on getting some work done. I shot a number of portraits of with some of the guys on the card and prepped the final headshots for the production team.

As I mentioned previously, we hit the ground running yesterday and shot the open workouts before even checking into the hotel. The workouts were held in a dimly lit corner of the casino back behind the 24/7 sports bar. A selection of the top six fighters on the card and a couple of the native Aussie’s worked out for the media contingent.

Below is a selection of shots from the morning’s workout sessions. As always, check out the full take on UFC.com and Getty Images.


UFC on FX 2 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on Versus 6: Cruz decisions Johnson

I’m here hanging out at the Washington DC Reagan International Airport, getting ready to head back home and catching up on some edits. I shot the fights last night at the Verizon Center for Getty Images and UFC.

The fights turned out to be pretty good. A couple that I expected to be good weren’t so much, but then a few of the sleeper fights turned out great. All in all was a pretty decent night. Highlights for me were the Neer/Wisniewski and Wiman/Danzig fights, which you can tell from the pictures. I also enjoyed the Edwards/Oliveira fight, though it’s always tough watching my boy Yves fight since we’ve been friends for more than 11 years. But, he pulled out a big win tonight and looked really impressive in the process.


UFC on Versus 6 – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on Versus open workouts

A day late, but I wanted to share a few images from yesterday’s UFC open workouts, which took place at the Warrior Gym in Alexandria, VA. I had a great time shooting and had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with fellow MMA photographer Melanie Diez LeGoullon. You never really know what you’re going to get with these workouts. Sometimes the guys don’t want to workout at all, or just do a little shadow boxing. Then, you get guys like Dominick Cruz who go hard for 20-30 minutes until someone has to tell him to stop. While the lighting wasn’t ideal, it was certainly better than some places we’ve had in the past. The turnout was decent for a smaller event. I’d say there were probably 30-40 people from the media in attendance and another 20-30 fans who came out. Not bad for noon on a weekday. Below are a few of my favorite shots from the day.


UFC on Versus 6 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on Versus pre-fight press conference

Today we took a trip into downtown Washington, DC to The Newseum for the final press conference for the UFC on Versus 6 card. The card features the first live, free championship fight in the UFC’s history with Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz defending his title against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. The co-feature pits the heavyweight division’s tallest fighter, Stefan Struve of Holland, against the division’s shortest fighter, Pat Barry. This made for some great face-off photos at the end. However, the highlight of the presser was Pat Barry’s comedic responses throughout the event. Here are a few selects from the afternoon’s take.


UFC on Versus 6 Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges