I think you can judge how big stars are in Las Vegas based on two things: how amazing the view is from their luxury suite and what kind of splash they make once they hit the scene.
I didn't see Anderson Silva's hotel room, but based on his crazy entrance into the UFC 148 media workouts at the XS Nightclub in the beautiful Encore Hotel, it was enormous and definitely facing the Strip.
Middleweight champion Silva is a different beast, even bolder than the other star fighters on the card like his opponent Chael Sonnen or former champions Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin. After all, none of those guys came out with a giant entourage or giant bodyguards—and none of them put on a giant show like Silva did, either, one part open workout, one part martial arts expo.
First, though, there was the waiting. And more waiting. Before Silva would take the stage, it seems Sonnen would have to completely vacate the premises. Then his handlers came out, moving photographers farther away from the stage, creating a bubble around the two blue mats placed in front of the hotel's amazing pool.
Finally, Silva emerged. It was an interesting contrast—he was the star, a big enough one to attract soccer royalty in the form of Ronaldo and movie greatness in the form of Steven Seagal. However, this star came in as just one of ten athletes dressed in identical white gi's.
What followed was an endless open workout, part clowning with his sons and part serious mat and striking work with professional fighters like Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante. Highlights include Silva's older son sucker punching him right in the face after the two sparred lightly and actor Steven Seagal coming onto the stage to work some Aikido with Cavalcante, looking every bit like a human manatee.
Silva was playful and smiling throughout, soaking in the cheers from a partisan Brazilian crowd that had booed Sonnen mercilessly earlier in the day but clearly loved their champion. When the workout ended, though, we saw no more of Silva. He didn't make the media rounds like every other main fighter had earlier, lending credence to rumors he has been difficult to work with in the days leading into the fight.
The talk is now finally over. The show will be put on hold. Until Saturday. Then Silva and Sonnen will both have to do their talking in the cage. If it's anything like this open workout, it will be quite a show. And Silva, if he has it his way, will be the star.
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