TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

Sabrutat’s 1st Live UFC – The Unofficial Report





Stefan Abrutat, aka the Underground/Otherground’s notorious Sabrutat, gives us his unique brand of irreverence / gonzo journalismÿin a report detailing his first live UFC experience at UFC 37: High Impact.ÿ Read More to discover the, um, uniqueÿinsights that only a rugby-playing ex-inhabitant of Yorkshire (England, that is) can provide.

My First Live UFC!


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-Stefan “Sabrutat” Abrutat


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I knew this was going to be bloody good when I got my press pass.ÿÿ F***ing ringside! I ended up swapping with Paul Erickson’s front row seat so he could take better pictures, and settled down next to the journalist from that much-vaunted British newspaper, The Times.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Oops.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Here I am sitting next to one of the world’s premier brainy reporters, picking my nose and leering at the ring girls. ÿÿI don’t think Zuffa put much forethought into the possible impact such seating arrangements might have on international public relations…


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Martin turned out to be a top lad, and a complete newbie to MMA and the UFC. Hadn’t even seen UFC 1. ÿÿNever heard of Royce Gracie or Ken Shamrock. ÿÿWeird. ÿJim Genia (the FCF reporter) and I took it upon ourselves to educate him in the refined pursuit of beating people up. ÿHe scribbled notes furiously as we described the origins of the sport, its evolution, the techniques, the different styles and the rules.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ The preliminary show opened with a war between Aaron Riley and Robbie Lawler. They went at it like two ovulating pit bulls in a room with one bone, beating entire spectrums of crap out of each other for the full fifteen. ÿIt was simply a shame that someone had to lose, such heart was on display.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ After the early stoppage in the second prelim, there was time to kill before the main card, so I grabbed a swift bevvy outside with OG bro mjjwm.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ $5.50 a beer.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ I stood back up and handed over the shekels with much chagrin. A few minutes later, we heard Bruce Buffer gobbing off on the PA, so we legged it back into the arena. As I squeezed through the press section, a series of enormously loud explosions rocked my sobriety. The bloke I was currently squeezing past leapt in the air with a yell, obviously psyched at the fireworks, and came dangerously close to spilling my pint. “Oi! Watch my beer, mate.” I reflexed conversationally to UFC Welterweight Champ Matt Hughes…


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ The rest of the event was one of the best UFCs I’ve ever seen. The rambunctious atmosphere is what the PPVs sadly fail to transpose. ÿEvery fight was impressive, but Bustamante stole the show. ÿWhat an incredible display of skill and character.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Martin, the man from The Times, had arrived with the impression that this was going to be a series of murderous street brawls in a cage. He left with a decidedly different demeanor. I think we’ve got a new fan, kids.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ As the beer was beginning to back up, I went for the first slash of the night. Two lads stopped me in the hallway, obviously impressed with the press ID hanging around my neck, and asked for my autograph.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Whut?


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ They thought I was a fighter. Easy mistake to make I suppose, with my dynamic physique, all-action personality, and devil-may-care swagger. ÿI insisted I wasn’t anyone of import, but they wouldn’t have it. So I graciously swirled a “Stef” on their proffered programme.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ The press conference was a trifle intimidating. I figured asking “What time do the pubs shut ’round here?” might be viewed as somewhat unprofessional, so I kept schtum. ÿGot my photo taken with a few fighters and BJM (he’s actually not that big), then went for another visit to the toilet. I flushed the crapper and jumped back, startled. It was one of those modern toilets with a very loud, powerful, roaring flush. I grinned sheepishly to myself as I opened the door. Ricco Rodriguez turned from the interview he was in the middle of recording right outside, and both he and the journalist gave me a dirty look…


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ After doing all the press-related buggering-about we headed over to meet the rest of the OG lads at the Celebrity Lounge in the Hollywood Casino. No one was there. We were an hour or two late, so we looked around the other bars for a bit before making our way over to Harrah’s casino. Bumped into Caol Uno and his entourage, photo op, then hunted for a boozer. ÿFound a small bar containing a plethora of MMA personalities. Chuck Liddell, Carlos Newton, Lorenzo Fertitta, Pat Miletich, Maurice Smith and Phil Baroni, ÿso we sat down for a drink or nine. Unfortunately, the slowest bartender on the planet informed us that he was shutting up shop in 15 minutes, at 1.45am (I knew I should have asked that question at the press conference!)ÿ ÿSo it was slamming time. ÿWe sport-drank for the quarter-hour and then headed over to Mojo’s; a bar/dance club over the road that was open until 6am. There was a big stretch limo sitting outside, so we assumed Tito et al. would be in there, and we were correct.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Walking in was an experience. There were more MMA guys in there than regular blokes. ÿAll the above plus Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Benji Radach, Ricco Rodriguez, Matt Serra, Frank & Lorenzo Fertitta, Bruce Buffer…the list was endless. Meeting these martial luminaries was put on hold when the sign behind the bar reading “$4 pitchers until 4am” came into focus. Bar space was vigorously acquired and consumption began.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ It has since come to my attention that the sinks in the male bathrooms of yank bars are set higher than standard for a purpose – to stop people from urinating in them. I had to stand on tip-toe to reach the required height and subsequently got a cramp in my calves. Trembling knees and spasming muscles are not very conducive to taking a relaxing micturition, folks, I kid you not. I failed in my quest, but the attempt had taken up enough time for a urinal to clear. ÿHence, I was subsequently able to relieve myself in relative comfort and privacy.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Back to the swelling social scene; Chuck Liddell was decidedly the worse for wear. ÿHe’s not a belligerent drunk by any means, but he’s certainly rowdy. If you can call chucking (ha!) icecubes down women’s cleavages from across the room “rowdy” (OK, attempting to chuck icecubes down women’s cleavages – his aim was waaayyy off).


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There’s only one thing to do when a man is this inebriated – get him even more so and see if he’ll become proportionately more entertaining to watch. As he swayed at the bar, trying to purchase a bottle of beer, I turned his attention to the $4 pitcher offer – something I saw as my civic duty. The utterance obviously confused the poor fella; the combination of booze, a Northern English accent (all the thicker from my own sottish state), dim lighting and the impossible-to-unravel tightly balled wad of bills he pulled from his jeans pocket contributed to his realization that he’d better get home before the Pass-out/Puke-up Fairies paid a visit.


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BJ and Matt Hughes were off in a corner going shot for shot. Dan Henderson was giggling drunk, and Tito was walking around apparently sober, but with his championship belt on backwards. Carlos Newton claimed to be undrunk, as he doesn’t drink. A claim backed up by the bottle of water clutched in his hand (Personally, I reckon it was gin. Or he’d been in the carpark..erm…meditating…).


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Bruce Buffer tapped Paul Erickson on the shoulder as we raced towards the 4am pitcher price increase deadline, wanting to know about the incredibly cool-looking TXMMA.com t-shirts we were wearing. ÿDidn’t sound at all like he sounds on the microphone. ÿWhich is kind of nice. ÿI was expecting to have to stand back as he slowly boomed his sentences, his sweeping hand gestures slapping passing pedestrians as he punctuated his monologue. We talked to him about the event for quite a while, and he seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ One of Tito’s guys, Jackson, I believe his name was, stood next to me and ordered a bottle of Heineken and some mixed drink for a lass. “What are you drinking that for?” says I, and nodded my head towards the now-legendary sign ($4 pitchers). ÿJackson did a Doh! of which Homer Simpson would be proud. A few minutes later I saw him drinking from a pitcher. ÿNow we’re talking. The UFC is obviously in need of a social secretary…


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ I forget what price the pitchers went up to at 4am, as I was wankered. ÿIt wasn’t substantial, though, so we carried on. ÿWhen 6am rolled around the bouncers started kicking everyone out. The bartender insisted myself and Erickson stay for a stoppy-back with a few of the locals. ÿPaul was beginning to fade, but gamely soldiered on nevertheless. The local lads were asking questions about the UFC and MMA, which we were happy to slur answers to. To demonstrate the subtleties of the fight game, we actually held an impromptu rear-naked choke clinic, showing how minute changes in positioning can lead to a tap or an escape. ÿWe may have created a handful of redneck monsters…


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ 7.30am, and Erickson is really starting to show signs of dying, so we headed back to the hotel to bang out some zee’s.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ I’m hooked.ÿ The UFC live is head and shoulders above a broadcast event.ÿ Well worth the effort and expense.ÿ I was struck by the professionalism and scale.ÿ Polished, it was.ÿ Exciting far beyond expectation.ÿ What also impressed me was the approachability of guys like Joe Silva, BJM and Bruce Buffer.ÿ I suppose the “leave your ego at the door” adage that permeates MMA practitioners has ingrained itself indelibly in the psyche of every facet surrounding the sport (apart from perhaps Baroni, though he seemed personable enough down the boozer).


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ I can’t even begin to imagine the party the event will inspire the next time it’s in Vegas. I’m definitely gonna be there.


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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Are you?


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About the Author:ÿ An expatriate from the UK, Stefan Abrutat’s irreverent musings can be found in many places, but most frequently on MMA.tv’s Otherground forum.






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