Saturday, July 26, 2008

EliteXC: Unfinished Business Live Blog

I'm currently in line at the illustrious Stockton Arena waiting to get in for the EliteXC fights. We've been informed that the doors open at 2:30 (right about now) and that Kimbo Slice will be singing autographs for free pretty mugh right by the door we're coming in.

They're letting us in only a half hour early as opposed to the hour they usually give for Thunder games. Since it's an event in Stockton, and because MMA fans are obviously a danger, we're being patted down before we go in.

KWIN and 98 Rock are here, 98 Rock won the music outside the arena battle, which is probably appropriate. Not sure why KWIN's here, they got a bunch of stuff out on their table, but they just look bored and sweaty, just like the rest of us in line

Arena personnel are blaming EliteXC (referred to as "the renter") for the reasoning behind the late doors. They're apparently not set up yet. This bodes well for the rest of the night.

2:50- We're (my brother is with me) in line for thwe Kimbo signing. He's not at the table yet. Gina Carrano's allegedly also going to be at the table. The line's not that bad, but considering it's 25 minuts to bell time and we're in line for an empty table, let's just say I'm pessemistic we'll actually see the Black Santa Claus at this table.

3:10- With 5 mins before bell time we had only moved the length of the beer table, so we gave up and went to our seats. We got the cheapest seats they have at $35. The arena doesn't even look half full, although people are still milling around on the concourse. I get the feeling we'll be moving down to make this place look full for TV. The set looks a lot different from the previous CBS card. Looks like they're going low key as promised.

4:20- The prelim fights were nothing really to speak of. Inbetween fights the announcer said Kimbo and Gina would be signing all night during this night of non-stop fights. Which was promptly followed by a half hour break between fights. We decided to go get some food and see if the Kimbo line had died down. It had, but we were told that the line was being cut off. 0 for 2 from the announcer.

The concession stand was a nice little window into Stockton as the place we chose seemed overwhelmed by what could best be described as a modest group of lines made horrible by the ineptness of unprepared people behind the snack bar. At least the Showtime part is starting. The arena is fuller, but still nowhere near a sellout.

5:30- The Showtime card was decent but featured a lot of ground and pound, which the Stockton crowd didn't appreciate since it wasn't visually exciting. Bigfoot Silva made up for it in the Showtime main event by beating the absolute shit out of his opponent for the Heavyweight Championship. He just straight up overpowered him. CBS show should start in about 30 mins. The crowd is hot, but should get even hotter when people they've actually heard of start fighting.

5:50- The announcer comes out to run down the card and of course get the cheap pop by saying "right here in Stockton, CA" about 50 times. He also somehow managed to mispronounce the name "Diaz". For the record, this is Nick Diaz's show. Straight up. The national crowd will tune in for Lawler/Smith, but this entire arena is here for Diaz.

They're replaying the Lawler/Smith fight on the screens during the half hour or so lull between the Showtime card and the CBS card.

While I was typing that last part Double J from the KWIN morning show came out to pump the crowd up. He's tossing out t-shirts and yelling "make the 209 proud". I'm not sure if that display makes me proud or embarassed, but he's horrible on the mic. Oh, and he throws t-shirts like a girl. Our section was too high up for him to get anywahere near us, which is sad because this arena isn't that big. At least I got a reminder as to why I can't stand listening to KWIN's morning show.

6:23- Wow, Christine Cyborg just knocked her opponent out twice in one round. The entire arena knew she knocked her out the first time, but Steve Mazzagati didn't think so. Bullshit call, so she did it again about a minute late. Fucking fantastic knockout, both of them. Looks like EliteXC told the refs to let them go after the last debacle on CBS.

6:30- Double J's back out. The crowd's slowly turning on him. One fan actually threw the t-shirt they got from the previous time we were graced with his presence back at him. He said something about a midget. This guy needs to be fired.

6:50- Jake Shields wins with an impressive modified guillotine a minute and a half into the first round for the title. Double J's back out sucking. Telling us to "fucking chant 209". This is officially embarassing. At least Nick Diaz is up next. And by nexy I mean CBS has 2 fights to fill and hour with, so in like 20 mins. A fight broke out in the crowd when Gus Johnson was interviewing Jake Shields, and another after the commercial break when Kimbo Slice was being interviewed. To say we're getting restless would be an understatement.

7:15- Jesus tapdancing Christ, Nick Diaz just destroyed Thomas Denny. I can't even describe how awesome that fight was. I'm still on an adrenaline high from it. There was another crowd fight on my side of the arena when they came back from commercial. Big fat dude getting in some good punches, but not as good as Diaz when the second round started. Damn. After party is at the Boiler Room apparently. If I were a richer man I'd be there. Also I don't feel like stranding my teenage brother so I can wait 20 mins for a drink at a sure to be crowded Boiler Room.

7:30- During this extended time killing break before Lawler/Smith we're thankfully spared from the ramblings of Double J. I'd like to take some time to give some props to the ring girls who are holding up the "EliteXC" cards and dancing at the same time during the breaks. Their arms must be tired, and holding uip the cards and dancing means that the dancing is really just moving their hips. Pretty funny.

8:00 So yeah, Scott Smith lost in what will probably be remembered by the crowd as a disappointing fight, but it was a good fight. Just a disappointing loss. 95% of the crowd filed out before the postfight interview. Still two swing bouts to go, so we jumped all the way up to the front row

10:00- I'm finally home. As you can probably tell I ran out of steam during the end. This was admittedly my first attempt at a live blog and my first live MMA show so I'm exhausted. The fights after the main event we pretty entertaining. One was a 10 second knockout where I barely had time to say "Who's fighting?". Which got the response of "Tarzan from Antioch." The other featured a nice fight where Anthony Ruiz won buy unanimous decision. Thomas Denny and the Diaz brothers were milling around the ring for the last round or two. I'll put up a more cohernt post about the entire experience on Monday or so.

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