Any night of fights is a vacation from the usual for me, but Saturday was an exception still. I went to my usual place to watch the fight (my wife's work) in Scottsdale, AZ. We were about 45 minutes out from getting a table and the main card was about to begin. When my wife's manager saw us he called us over and gave us a table that had just opened up. Kinda shitty for those who had to wait, but awesome for us! Just as he seats us he says, " Jamie Varner is here promoting his new gym. My head pops straight up and found him in an instant. I've been wanting to go to a fan expo, but never made it. This was the first fighter I've ever got to meet in person and I wasn't going to miss an opportunity.
I walked over, tapped Jamie on the shoulder and asked if I could get a picture. "Yeah. No problem.", he said. Afterwards he asked me my name, we shook hands, and went back about our business. A bit later, he came over to our table just to chat. I told him how I shot up off the couch when he knocked out Barboza. A little flattery never hurt. He seemed pleased to know I wasn't just some jerk and I was aware of his high points in his career. He tells us about his new gym, and mentions that he'll be hanging out at another local bar/club if we wanted to stop by. We told him we may do that and said our goodbyes.
So now I'd like to take a moment to mention the second best moment of the night. Any other fight night this would easily be number 1, but it had to drop a spot after meeting Varner. Rashad smashing Chael was incredible. Granted, it REALLY did look like a LHM pounding away at a MW. It was awesome nonetheless. I was up out of my seat, hootin' and hollerin' like an ass. People looking at me... shaking their heads. I didn't care. It was too good a night to care.
After the fights ended my wife and I went out with some friends to grab a bite to eat and have some beers. Too many hipsters had me tapping my foot to get out of there. So we made it short and made our way to "El Hefe" (the bar where Jamie was). When we arrived there was a line that spanned all the way to the entrance of the adjacent bar. "Shit", I thought. We got in line and started to inch our way forward. But after a few minutes Jamie comes out front with another guy and they're going at it. I here this other guy yelling about some girl and how much of a "you-know-what" she is. A girl in line leans over to me, points, and says, "Two gay guys fighting." I chuckled. Jamie, annoyed, looks over and sees us standing in line. He waves for us to come over. Now, I'm looking around to find someone more important than myself that he must be signaling. Nope. He was looking at me. My wife and I walk over as he sends his friend on his way. "Sorry you had to see that,", he says. I shrug my shoulders. Jamie takes us to the front of the line, tells the bouncer we're with him, and gets us through the door. Awesome.
Once inside he drifts off as we go get some drinks. My wife and I look at each other like, "What in the hell is going on tonight?" A couple drinks later and we meet back up with Jamie. We go over to his little VIP area where his friends are hanging out. He kicks a couple of people out and tell me and my wife to have a seat. At this point I felt awesome, not realizing that it was my previous ass-kissing that gained me such favor. We took our seat at chatted the night away. We talk about fights and his new gym. He tells me he's put everything he has into this gym. A few more drinks and some anecdotes later and it's time to go home. We say our final goodbyes and he reminds me to stop by the gym. I say "OK" and get a cab (in which my wife leaves her new HTC One. Still haven't got it back). So ends our little adventure.
I really just wanted to say how cool of a guy Jamie was and mention his new gym. It's the least I could do for the kindness he showed me and my wife Saturday. The gym is called Impact MMA and it's located near Thomas and Hayden in Scottsdale, AZ. If you live in the area, make sure to check it out. I'm sure he'll be there most of the time.