The dust has settled for me and UFC 131 was a large success in Vancouver over the past seven days. When I touched down on the beautiful place I called home for five or so years in my college days, the city was a buzz with Stanley Cup fever.
It was there in the air and with flags draped all over cars and the city. I was envious. I live in Toronto and I am a Leaf fan, need I say more? I knew my friends who are Canuck fans would be boasting and strutting and walking the walk.
I was there to bask in the vibe for a week, visit my dad, show my girlfriend the sights and cover UFC 131. Not a bad week in my opinion. I was pumped up for the event, but I quickly realized that the city was preoccupied and it didn't have the lust and fury for this event that Toronto had in April.
You really can't compare the two because the one in Toronto was the city's first but it was clear the people of Vancouver had other things on their minds.
As the days went by and the events leading up were held the fans did come out and the buzz close to the event was certainly there. Here are some highlights from the week.
- I have shaken a lot of fighters hands over the years, at various events and shows, but this was the first time a fighters hand and grip were something to comment on. Shane Carwin has got some set of mitts on him. I know that is no secret with his oversized gloves and all but his hand crushed mine. He was no match for JDS, and watching that fight was pure poetry. I've never seen such a big man like JDS stick and move and shuck and jive like a middle or welterweight boxer. And people say boxing is dead. You want to see world-class boxing, watch MMA and specifically JDS.
- Time to eat some crow as I was giving it to the UFC match makers for having Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman on the main card of the event and having Canadian Krzystof "The Polish Experiment" Soszynski far down on the card comparatively. Well, the KSOS vs. Massenzio fight was a tough one to watch, and the Einemo vs. Herman fight was named "Fight of The Night" so I was wrong on that one.
- The press conference kicked off with some yahoo at the back of Robson Square yelling out a question and comments about an incident that happened the last time the UFC was there. It's not even worth mention here because it had nothing to do with the UFC, but I wanted to comment on how they handled it, Dana White and the UFC Press team were calm and cool, and they know how to run a first-class event
- Watching the fights ringside was again an awesome experience and a highlight was obviously a Sam Stout knockout for Team Adrenaline, my favorite team of fighters. Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki were on hand during the week to support Stout, and they held a fundraiser with coach Shawn Tompkins to raise money in support of a center for abused women in Vancouver. These guys are the best of the best inside and outside the cage.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Feature Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA.