As many of you might or might not know, I had the opportunity to attend both the the Strikeforce: "Miami" weigh-ins and fight card this weekend.It was my first time time I'd been to an MMA event since last years Bellator Fighting Championships in At the Hard Rock in Hollywod, Florida. It was also my first time at, depending on how you view Strikeforce, at a major MMA fight promotion event. After the jump, I'll basically give a rundown on th events and some of my opinions and thoughts on them. I'll leave the fight analysis to the esteemed writers of MMAmania.
Weigh-ins & autograph session:
Friday's weigh-ins included a 5:30pm autograph session with Strikeforce fighters Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, and Scott Smith. All were very cool guys and, at least from my observations, took the time to personalize their autographs as well as take pictures with all the fans that asked. I know it's part of their job with Strikeforce, but these guys seemed to really be genuine in their interaction with the fans. Even when I was leaving the event after the weigh-ins took place, between 7:30 & 8pm, there was still a line of about 15-20 people waiting for autographs, and all 4 fighters were still sitting there signing away. Very cool in my opinion.
This basically brings up my only gripe about getting into the weigh-ins: unless you were media or knew someone in a fight camp, you had to go through the autograph session line to get through to the weigh-ins. There were not separate lines for each event. Basically, if you were not in the first part of the line like I was, you missed a good part, or all, of the weigh-ins. Not cool in my book.
By time I got through the the autograph station and up to the "Chairman Club", the weigh-ins were just getting started. The space in which they took place was pretty small, nothing compared to (or what appears to be) what you see on a televised UFC weigh-in. Zaromskis was just getting off the scale and Diaz was making his way up to it. It has always been odd to me as to why Strikeforce starts their weigh-ins with the main event and down the card as opposed to starting with the under card. IMO this takes away from any last minute hype a card might be able to generate. Aside from missing Zaromskis I did catch the weigh-ins in full. I even was able to meet Fanhouse/MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani as well as Fox Fight Game's Mike Straka. Both were very cool as well.
Standing in line at the Bank Atlantic Center, and once I got in, I felt like I was one of the only people not wearing a TapOut or Affliction shirt, seriously. Once I got in, at 7pm, there was a couple tables in the lobby with stacks of free programs for the event. I thought they charged an arm and a leg for those things at sporting events? Either way, it was very cool for Strikeforce to make those available to the fans at no addition charge.
I took a stroll through the lobby to see what kind of vendor tables were set up. I only saw tables set up for some local home remodeling company, a local sports radio station that I don't listen to, and Visa. But in all fairness I didn't walk around the entire arena, just around were my seating section was.
Finally I get to my seat: Section 107, Row 22, Seat 11. I was just below the luxury boxes and, IMO, I didn't have a bad seat at all. That was until the drunken moron Bostonian (he stressed his city of origin pretty frequently) sitting behind me showed up. Dude showed up sloshed, wouldn't shut up, and was spewing out misinformation and non-sense the entire evening (example: "Joe Riggs and Jay Heiron are top 10 guys" and pronouncing Lashley's name as "Lashayley"). The best part was when him and his friend almost got into blows because he felt the friend was disrespecting their time there together by going out to smoke frequently. A "bromance" lovers quarrel-how cute. It reminded me of some of the exchanges I read on some SB Nation MMA blogs. And before I forget, a guy three rows back threw up 2 fights into the under card and was escorted out. Now thats entertainment!!!
From the beginning of the under card, the crowd seemed to be pretty quiet for an MMA event, or for any event in a major sporting arena. Kind of reminded me of how in Japan the crowd is quiet during the fights.The only real memorable loud moments were when GSP was shown on the screen (I'm sure Dana loved that), when Lashley & Walker were announced, and when Manhoef got KTFO by Lawler. That was truly insane. I captured video of the KO on my digital camera and hope to make a fanshot of soon. Oh, and who is this Rex Ryan guy everyone in So. Florida seems to love so much?
It was also puzzling to see a lot of people leaving after Cyborg beat Coenen, most of which were people from the floor seats. All the seats were never filled at one given time, but this had to have made it even look worse for the main event (I haven't watched the Showtime airing yet so If I'm wrong I apologize). Also, I couldn't help but wonder if in fact a lot of those floor seats were comped. I mean, who would pay a couple hundred on a ticket to just up & bail during the main event? From a MMA fans prospective this just seemed really odd.
Overall I wasn't too impressed with the live production value of the show. I was expecting something comparable to start off the main card like the "Baba O'Reilly" Montage that you can only see live at UFC PPV's. The majority of the time fillers were of loud club music, Rockstar Energy Drink & EA Sports MMA promos.
So, would I go to a Strikeforce event again? It would really depend on who was fighting. Aside from the Lawler/Manhoef & Diaz/Zaromskis fights, I wasn't really impressed. I am a fan of Herschel Walker's football career, but borderline freakshows don't really appeal to me. As far as Bobbly Lashley goes, I have no real interest in seeing him fight either. IMO, if it werent for Lesnar being in the game, Lashley wouldn't be. And in all honesty if Nick Diaz hadn't been on the card I probably would have stayed home to watch.
So that's it. Sorry if I bloviated or bored you to death. Feel free to leave your questions, comments or concerns.