Community Journal Entry: My UFC Denver (drunken) experience

January 28, 2017

The first UFC event I attended was in Boston, Massachusetts with my college roommate and co-owner of the site, Rags. It was the day Dominick Cruz came back to claim his throne as the undisputed bantamweight king.

I sat in the same section as Eddie Alvarez’s family and shook his younger brother’s hand after he beat Anthony Pettis in the co-main event. Although that night was amazing, I don’t think I’ll ever experience an event like UFC Denver at the Pepsi Center.

Besides the casual reminder to not film by the mean muggin’ guards, that night was the most epic experience I’ve ever been a part of. While in the Uber, I popped a sweet tart edible to get the night started on the right foot. I grabbed my nachos and my first tall-boy of the night when I got inside, then found my seat in section EEE,  9th row. Inside, I was screaming like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

After breaking the seal and heading back and forth from my seat to the bathroom, I realized that I had to make the most of this experience, even if I did go alone.

Amanda Nunes showed up with Nina Ansaroff. I was so close to taking a photo with the champ, but she went back to her seat to watch the next fight. I will say this, being so close to UFC fighters, was the most epic thing in the history of epic things. Seriously, I’ve never met so many fighters before. I wanted to start the “this is awesome” chants like they do in WWE. I’m glad my drunk a*s didn’t. 

Then I popped another sweet tart edible. That’s when I met Robbie Lawler. I originally wanted to get a Snapchat video for Rags, since that was his favorite fighter ever since I converted him into a mixed martial arts fan. But instead, I was in awe and just grabbed a quick snap and stupidly said, “I can’t wait to watch you back in there, man.” I walked back with the biggest smile on my face and showed everyone I made friends with that night. Shout out to row’s 9 and 10, section EEE.

I was able to meet this cool couple. We talked a lot about UFC events and every fight that happened on the main card. I wish I had remembered their names. I also met this father-daughter duo. She promised him floor seats and followed through. We raised our glasses to our view and the awesome night we were all in store for.

Pause. Seeing fights live is absolutely unreal. I’ve never seen a knockout as close as I was. I’ve also never seen the agony of defeat right before my eyes. I swear my jaw was dropped half the time I was there. 

One of my favorite fights was Jason Knight vs Alex Caceres. It was exciting, the crowed was super into it and the commentary from the guys next to me, was priceless. They watched “their boy” Caceres take a bigger “L” then the one I hit when I woke up that morning. After the fight, I was able to snap a photo with the champ, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I said to her, “you are a legend, I hope you know,” then proceeded to take the picture with the camera not on selfie-mode. Insert drunk ass chant. I don’t think she understood what I was trying to tell her, but man, I couldn’t believe I met the champ. Such a surreal moment.

Right after seeing one of my favorite heavyweights (Francis Ngannou) fight, I went to the Metro PCS station to charge my phone since it was on 7%. Not only did I need my phone for my snapchats and pictures, I needed it to get an Uber back home. There I met a guy who was a friend of a UFC fighter. Or at least that’s what he told me. As we were chatting, Eric Spicely walks by. I turned around, noticed him immediately and said, “holy shit, Eric Spicely, great fucking win out there man it was awesome!” He looked back, waved, then nodded. I took my phone off the charger and asked if I could take a photo. It was awesome to see a fellow Masshole get the win. I loved this guy on The Ultimate Fighter 23.

Then, as I was walking my drunkass back to my seat, I saw another drunkass. That drunkass was none other than Al Iaquinta. I witnessed him spill some of his beer when taking a photo with one of his fans. I walked up to him and said, “dude, you were my favorite on The Ultimate Fighter.” He laughed and said, “yeah right.” Of course my drunkass said, “dude, I swear, I used to tweet you all the time.” This was probably my favorite moment of the night.

Another memory I enjoyed was Cowboy’s walkout. The crowd was so behind their hometown boy. Unfortunately it didn’t go the way we all wanted, but it was such an honor to be a part of such a passionate crowed. There’s no other was to describe it, people were invested in the fighters, the moment and every fight that happened. We gathered together and cheered for our favorites and sticked together when we booed. We even created the villain of the night, Jorge Masvidal. I knew after that fight, the main event would be a tough act to follow. I didn’t count the ladies out, though.  

I want to share with you another special moment I encountered. Two women in the main event, that didn’t have the last names: Holm, Rousey, or Tate. It was a turning page in the bantamweight division.

The lady next to me pointed out Nunes watching the fight. What I saw, was a lioness on the prowl, watching and studying her next meal. She was focused and I don’t even think she blinked. You would never get to see this when watching from home. Right before the fight ended, Nunes stood up and mocked the women in the cage. She pumped up the crowd, as if she were confident that neither of these women were on her level. It’s nice to have a Queen reign, again. I was so caught on this moment that I missed Julianna Pena tapping. Valentina Shevchenko’s armbar was badass.

To top it all off, the UFC had Nunes go into the cage to confront Shevchenko after her win. Although both women struggled with English, that moment was surreal to watch. I remember jumping up and down in excitement of the fact the UFC allowed this to happen. It was exciting and my interest in the women’s bantamweight division was back at an all-time high.

On my way out of the Pepsi Center, I found Matt Brown, to add to my collection of fighters I got to meet that night. I’m a huge fan of Brown, so it was another “internal fan-girl freak out” moment for me.

When I got back home, I realized I was drunker than I thought and it was only 9:00pm. I’m still not used to mountain time, it’s so much better than eastern standard. I remember re-watching my snap story and soaking in that it was real life. As a fan of the sport and its growth, I felt like the kid in me had the time of his life.

My new mission in life is to attend as many events as possible. There’s no way I’m ever missing out on history.

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