(After the show it’s the after-party.)
Thanks to the good people at RawVegas.tv, I got to attend Clay Guida’s after-party at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone on Saturday night (too bad for them they ended up on a wild Penn chase along with the throng of Hawaiian fans at Studio 54). But not only did they hook me up with free entrance to the party, once I showed up I had my own private table and bottle service.
This was weird for two reasons: 1) I’m not exactly a club kind of guy. I’m more the dark, dingy bar where the patrons barely look up from the racing form to watch someone get thrown out kind of guy. And 2) I have no idea how to respond to that kind of VIP treatment. When people are nice to me, I assume that they either want something or have mistaken me for someone else. But there I was at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone, hanging with Clay Guida and his people while a waitress in a bikini was asking me what kind of bottle I wanted.
Naturally, I said “Jameson’s.” When she asked me what kind of mixer I wanted, I said “ice.” She looked at me as if I’d misunderstood the question.
The night before I’d attended Tracy Lee’s birthday party in a private suite at Planet Hollywood. I looked around the room at some point and realized the party consisted of: fighters, fighter agents, beautiful women (some of whom were “adult film actresses,” as one man put it), rich guys who owned various businesses, and me, an MMA writer who was wearing a shirt his mother gave him for Christmas. If you ever need to be reminded how uncool you are, I recommend this experience.
Earlier that same night I talked to an MMA agent (who shall remain nameless) and he asked me whether I really wrote for Cage Potato. When I admitted that I did, he said, "You fucking smartass."
He had a valid point.
But on Saturday night after the press conference I posted my stories, looked glumly at the judges’ scorecard (above) that cost me my big underdog bet on Dong Hyun Kim, and then headed over to HZT for Guida’s soiree.
The problem that immediately confronted me when I saw the private table was, I was there alone. I came to Vegas just to cover the fights. I didn’t have any friends there. It was just me, the big empty table, and a bottle of whiskey. Trouble was a-brewing. So I did what any reasonable man would. I made friends.
Among the things we discussed: what the UFC is (“that cagefighting stuff”), who Clay Guida is (the guy over there who looks sort of like a caveman, and they knew exactly who I meant), how my wife feels about me being alone at a party in the Hawaiian Tropic Zone (not so thrilled), and whether the message behind that Beyonce song is truly that if you don’t give your girlfriend a ring she’ll go sleep with some other guy ("pretty much").
After I talked some with Guida and congratulated him on his win, it occurred to me what a different party this would be had the close decision gone the other way. Fighters arrange these things in advance and are obligated to show up in order to get their appearance fee. When they don’t — as Penn didn’t, for reasons that are fairly understandable — they don’t get paid.
Guida never seemed to think the outcome of his fight was in any doubt. He gave Nate Diaz credit for being a tough guy, but had no doubt he deserved the win. He even mentioned how "respectful" both Nate and his brother were after the fight. I wonder if he was as surprised to say that as I was to hear it.
When I asked him what was next he just shrugged. A good time, from the looks of things. Might as well leave the man alone and let him enjoy it.