Living 10 minutes from Edison, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Believe it or not, I’m actually a fan of “Big Tim” because I believe beneath that abrasive exterior is a guy who loves the UFC and wants nothing more than to be champ.
That may not mean much to some people, but I for one can appreciate that mentality. In fact, it’s beginning to look like a lost commodity after seeing some of the fighters being churned out of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 5.
The autograph signing was scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. I arrived about 30 minutes in and, to my surprise, the Expo was also featuring Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith. My heart raced with excitement as I envisioned an autographical hat trick.
Little did I know how out of touch I was.
Since there was no line to speak of, it was impossible to sneak past, so I just bit the bullet and whipped out a double-finsky.
Cashier: That will be 40 dollars.
Five dollars for a picture and $35 for an autograph?
For a guy who’s battling a negative public image, he sure isn’t helping his own cause. I’d pay $40 for Couture. Maybe for Liddell.
But for an ex-champ facing back surgery?
I don’t know if he’s looking to cover his insurance deductible for the procedure or his agent is Scott Boras, but nobody is getting that kind of money from me unless there’s a happy ending.
And this goes a long way toward explaining the reason his appearances are so rare.
In an act of defiance, I marched past the booth and headed straight for Smith and Montana. They had a pre-pay area set up for pictures and autographs and they started at $350.
Suddenly, a signature from “The Maine-iac” seemed thrifty in comparison.
The UFC is still a long way from catching up to the other sports. For once I thought to myself it wasn’t such a bad thing.