As an MMA fighter that had his career put on the shelf, I thought I would never come close to the octagon again. But on the evening of September 25th, at The Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, it was different. I was fortunate to work the event as security escort for the fighters from the entrance to the ring.
Before the event,Color commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg was walking around the octagon talking with the staff and some early fans. I could see Ring Announcer Bruce Buffer, checking his hair and adjusting his tie as he practiced his famous "Buffer Point" while introducing the each fighter.
I even caught a glimpse of the UFC President Dana White in one of the backstage rooms cheering and getting all hyped up, not because of the event, but because he was viewing his son's soccer game that was being broad casted via satellite to his laptop. Even though he is working the UFC all the time, White still makes time to enjoy watching his son play his heart out like any other proud father would do and for that I respected him a little bit more.
Giving Senior UFC Referee directions on how to get out of the stadium quietly was a little awkward, because I'm not sure if I gave him directions to the nearest, most quietest exit or directions to the nearest toilet. I really do hope Dean made it out quietly. If not, sometimes even a backstage bathroom at the end of an event can be quiet and serene.
It was an honor to see 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Ace, Eddie Bravo and see how down to earth the guy really is. He even took the time to thank us for working the event and would love to see us at his camp. I don't see myself showing Eddie my version of the Rubber Guard anytime soon, but maybe in the the next life, Eddie.
It felt good to walk next to people who has committed their lives into representing Mixed Martial Arts. These guys see MMA as the future and it most certainly is. It felt good to feel the energy of the crowd as they cheered their favorite fighter and jeered their opponent. It felt good to hear the music and the lights flashing.
I felt like I was competing again, I thought I would never experience the feeling and the rush of getting geared for a fight. I consider myself very lucky to get one more chance.
Even during the fights I could feel the emotion of the crowd as a fighter got clipped really good or even when there was a strike straight to the groin. The instant replays on the multiple screens made it even more intense.
The walk from the entrance gave me goose bumps from start to finish.
I was so proud to escort my friend Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut and to see him make veteran fighter, Mark Hunt, tap out in the first round made it even sweeter. It was surreal walking with fellow High School Alum, Chris Lytle and legendary fighters like the Nogueira brothers and Mirko Cro Cop.
I even got the chance to stand next to my idols in UFC Hall Of Famers Randy Couture and Matt Hughes. Even walking the arrogant, yet talented, Frank Mir was amazing. Mir even walked slow enough for me to soak up every step to the ring.
Walking with Matt Serra was the opposite of walking Mir. Serra decided to turn it to 4th gear and make his escorts catch up with him. Even his camp was way behind. I guess he really wanted to get in that ring for his rematch with Chris Lytle.
I also got to walk some of the young guns of the UFC who are trying to solidify their place in the octagon. Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Melvin Guillard put on a great fight and in which I thought that Stephens should have won that fight. It was a classic "never leave the fight to the judges" moment.
Former Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk and Even Dunham went to a three round decision. Sherk ended up getting the "W", but it was Dunham who ended up with the crowd on his side. Both fighters left it all in the ring which is how fights should be fought.
Upcoming Light Heavyweight Star and undefeated, Ryan Bader, was able to keep his perfect record in the UFC intact as he defeated "Little Nog" Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-main event. Bader is someone you definitely have to look out for. The kid has yet to be pushed to his limit and he does show potential of becoming a champion in that division.
Yeah, I maybe not competing anymore, but I still share their passion for the sport. It is so amazing to see the sport grow and the fighters get the recognition they deserve. At UFC 119, my dream came true, it was just from a different view. It makes me very proud to be a student of MMA and I'd like to to thank Bleacher Report for allowing me to express it.
Until then, this is Balistik signing out.
"MMA ALL THE WAY!!"