Their theory? Miletich is one the schedule for the UFC’s fan expo next week in Las Vegas. Do you know what else is also on the schedule? Pat Miletich’s UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony. So I guess we shouldn’t call it a rumor so much as it’s either fact or one of the UFC’s web design interns made a huge mistake.
(Please don’t bust on my shaky interviewing skills for this one; we can’t all be Helwani.)
While in Boston for CagePotato’s first (and last) UFC Fan Expo appearance, I had the opportunity to meet Nick Newell, an undefeated lightweight fighter from Massachusetts. After teaching me how to use my microphone, Newell discussed how he got into MMA, and the advantages and disadvantages of being a congenital amputee. The worst part about having one hand? Nobody wants to fight you. Here’s what he told us last year:
“The last five fights I’ve trained for, I’ve only gotten to do two of them, from people pulling out. Last time I was supposed to fight a guy and he never even showed up to weigh-ins. So it’s real hard for me to get fights. I’m not picky with who I fight, I’ll take whoever. And I feel like a lot of leagues are afraid to use me, because they don’t want to be labeled as a ‘freak show’ match. But it’s not like that at all. I train probably harder than anyone else, and I dedicate my life to this.”
For the five men who were actually brave enough to step into the cage with Nick in professional fights…well, they lost. Nick has finished all of his opponents in the first round, submitting the last four in under two minutes. And yet he still can’t find regular work in this sport — which is why a contract with Shark Fights would be so important for his career.
Overall, this sounds like a pretty cool chance to meet some fighters, get some autographs, and pick up some UFC schwag. The tour will jump around the country, often making pit stops at large festivals like Bonnaroo and the X-Games. If you’ve ever attended any MMA-related event, you know all too well the type of sophisticates that turn out. For every educated fan, you have two guys in chromed-out Ed Hardy shirts talking about how tough Kimbo Slice is. One component of the tour sure to bring out the meatheads is the competitive physical fitness tests. Fans can weigh-in and test their might at pull-ups, vertical jump, and punching strength. Better than simply flexing their barbed-wire tatted biceps for those in attendance, competitors will be given a stats-card designed for Facebook posting so all of cyberspace can taste their machismo.
Any bets as to which member of the Potato Nation will post the highest scores? A schedule of upcoming tour dates and locations is after the jump…
For the benefit of those who couldn’t make it, here are some of the notable faces (and other body parts) in attendance at last weekend’s UFC Fan Expo in Toronto. Check it out, if only to see Chan Sung Jung‘s #1 fan at the 0:04-0:06 mark. Those eyes haunt my dreams.
Speaking of Fan Expos, the UFC has officially announced that their next one will take place October 7th and 8th at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The two-day event will coincide with a yet-to-be-announced UFC pay-per-view card on 10/8, which will likely be hosted at the Toyota Center.
They may have blocked us from having a booth at next weekend’s UFC Fan Expo, but that won’t stop us from trucking up to Toronto and hangin’ with our Canadian fans. If you’ll be in town for the UFC 129 festivities, we cordially invite you to the CagePotato.com UFC 129 ‘Banned’ Meetup Extravaganza (!), which goes down at Shoeless Joe’s (276 King St. West), next Thursday, April 28th, from 7-10 p.m.
While there will be many different parties and events happening around Toronto on Thursday night, ours is different in one very important way: OPEN FREAKIN’ BAR. That’s right, CagePotato will be covering beer, well drinks, and appetizers until our money runs out, so be sure to get there early. You’ll also get a “Free CagePotato” t-shirt (as supplies last), as long as you can look us directly in the eyes and promise that you’ll wear it to at least one day of the UFC Fan Expo on Friday or Saturday. (And if you see Sammie Black there with his silly little fake-ass jump rope, please make sure to make fun of him as hard as we did in Boston.)
If you can make it out, all we ask is one thing: Please RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your real name, commenter name (if you have one), and the number of guests you plan on bringing along. We need to get a head-count for this thing by Tuesday, or else Shoeless Joe himself is going to kick our asses. To summarize…
We should have seen this coming. After UFC president Dana White personally promised to ruin us following our leak of Arianny Celeste‘s Playboy photos, CagePotato.com has been blocked from all UFC media events, most notably the MMA legalization press conference at Madison Square Garden in January. (We were initially approved for attendance by MSG organizers, but then told we had been vetoed “due to a recent leaked magazine cover.”) A shame, considering we’ve been one of the foremost online supporters of the MMA in NY regulation efforts.
Still, we held out hope that this wouldn’t affect our appearance at the upcoming UFC Fan Expo in Toronto, considering that we had (without exaggeration) one of the most popular booths at the last UFC expo in Boston, and we were paying a couple grand for the privilege of being there. It turns out the UFC doesn’t even want our money anymore. That’s how you know things have spun out of control.
By now, you may have already seen that video going around of Pat Barry kicking the stuffing out of our punch-machine at the UFC Fan Expo. When KLM Vending dropped off the machine at our booth, they gave us strict orders to not let any drunken tough-guy idiot try to kick the bag. But when HD Barry drops by and starts rolling his shorts up, you’re pretty much helpless to do anything except smile nervously and move out of the way.
Of course, Pat wasn’t the only one who was drawn to the punch-machine at the CagePotato.com Fan Expo booth. As VH and ReX already explained, we had a thick crowd of participants and gawkers all weekend, many of whom turned into hooked rubes who couldn’t stop pleading for "one more turn" on the thing. And my God did they take it seriously. So here’s our video tribute to their efforts, edited by Break Media’s Matty Sumida and soundtracked by Fort Minor. Enjoy, and we hope to see you guys at the next one…
At this point, MMA interviewer/analyst Ariel Helwani is more famous than a lot of the people he interviews. If you’ve ever spotted him at an MMA event, you know that he can’t get ten feet without being swarmed by another group of fans, who follow his work intently at MMAFighting.com and Versus. Keep in mind that Ariel Helwani is not a fighter. He’s just a dude who started with a dream and went on to become the most well-known interviewer in our sport. To put it simply, he’s come a long way since Andrei Arlovski’s pee-pee-pee.
So here’s something special for all the Helwannabes in the house: Ariel stopped by the CagePotato.com booth at the UFC Fan Expo on Saturday and spent some time on the other side of the microphone. Watch the video above to learn about Ariel’s journey from sports fan to "liver of the dream," his love of Howard Cosell, and of course, why he thinks we’re so awesome. Many thanks to Ariel for giving us his time and, at least for one moment, lending the CagePotato.com carnival booth some measure of legitimacy.
Note: Keep your eyes peeled around 2:41 and 2:56 to watch some amazing background work from ReX13. Yep. That’s what I had to deal with all weekend.
In one of my absolute favorite moments from our trip to the UFC Fan Expo in Boston, I had the opportunity to interview beloved UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, who was at the expo in part to promote his new Round 5 collectible figure. (Come on. You know you want that thing in your cubicle.) After giving us the scoop on "Mini B" and Round 5′s Versus set, Bruce shares his favorite name to announce in the Octagon, how he keeps his voice in shape for every show, and lessons learned from the World Series of Poker. And then, he gives CagePotato.com the full Buffer treatment with a stunning UFC-style introduction. God bless you, Bruce. We are not worthy.
A side-note on why I appear to be screaming like a jackass through this entire interview: The microphones were high-quality enough to block out ambient noise, but trust me, it was deafening in there. You can catch a glimpse of Sammy "Jumpin’ Ropes and Blastin’ Shitty Music" Black, behind us in the red tank top. As you can see, Bruce and I were standing directly in front of the CagePotato punch machine, and it’s a little difficult staying relaxed while a bunch of dudes are launching haymakers two feet behind your head. (Remember that amazing scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk Diggler and his gang are trying to screw Alfred Molina on a drug deal while an Asian houseboy keeps throwing firecrackers in the background? That’s pretty much what this felt like.)
Plus, let’s face it, it’s Bruce Fucking Buffer, and I’m meeting him for the first time. You try controlling the volume of your voice in a situation like that.