Continued from: UFC 90 Part 1
I left off on my last blog saying that I had places to go and people to see... The place and the people? New Kids on The Block. Yup, I'm a fan, and was
many years ago as a young girl. I missed their concert when they were in Las Vegas but my sister was kind enough to send me photos from her camera phone
to make me jealous. Some of my friends from the UFC had box seats and had asked me if I wanted to go. Hell yeah I did! So I stepped away from fight stuff
for just a few hours for a guilty pleasure. I met up with Rachel, Jordan and his girlfriend in the lobby and a car service took us over to the Allstate
Arena where we fought more traffic to get there. We were escorted up to the box where we were directly to the left of the stage. The box included free
food, and beer as well. Couldn't have asked for a better concert invite! We ended up with 10 extra tickets to the concert in addition to the 6 of us that
were already there so I convinced Red Schafer, his buddy Ryan, Jeff Clark, and Eric to come join us. They arrived with my girl Rachel with only 30 minutes
left in the concert. In their favor, the 18,000 seat arena was 90% female. I have pictures from my baby camera to prove that they were there!!
It was raining when we ducked out of the arena right as the NKOTB started their last song of the night, Hangin' Tough. We had all wanted to see it
(including the guys) but knew that if we waited we wouldn't be able to grab cabs downtown. We found out later that some of our group that stayed were
stuck for hours trying to find cabs. We had to be downtown by 12 and by leaving 3 minutes before the concert ended, we made it to Spy Bar by 11:45.
I walked into the club and found that many of the people I had invited to come out were already there. We were escorted to our table near the front of the
venue (it was a large area that wasn't near the speakers so that people could converse if they wanted to) and bottle service started flowing. At first the
club was slow because it's an afterhours and typically people don't start arriving until 1am.. I couldn't tell everyone that the party was at 1, so I set
it for 12. By 1:30 am the place was packed and a ton of my industry friends had shown up; fighters, clothing lines, and UFC peeps! I imagine more would
have come had it not been raining and so far from the hotel.
Still, the turnout was fantastic and included faces such as Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Andrei Arlovski, Joe Silva, Red Schafer, Mark Dellagrotte, Cole
Miller, Clay Guida, Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Miss Rara, MMA Warehouse, Fight Chix, and more! I feel like the party was a complete success and look forward
to parts 2 and possibly 3 of it that I am throwing during UFC 91.
I drove Red's buddy Ryan's truck back to the hotel from the club, looking for food places all the way back. Somehow as late as Chicago's clubs stay open,
there's not a ton of late night food to whet the appetite. Especially at the Hilton O'hare. One good thing is that it had 24 hour room service, but
nothing on the menu looked appealing so I went to bed hungry..
Saturday Morning, I was woken up by a text message I had for a interview on a Chicago radio station. Please forgive me for not remembering the name of
it!! They called and I had pretty much no voice from the night before and was utterly exhausted. I met Red and Ryan at their room and we went downstairs
for a breakfast buffett. I went totally ADD on the interview because it was like the whole MMA industry was in the restaurant. I spotted Anderson's whole
team, Tim Sylvia, Leslie, the ring girl mom, Gray Maynard, Hermes Franca, Kim Goldberg, Dustin Akbari, Jeremy Stephens, Mike Ciesnolevicz, JZ Cavalcante,
and I'm sure a ton more that I can't even remember right now. Needless to say that I lost my train of thought on the phone as I took in this MMA fan's
dream come true. I finished up the interview and made my way to the buffett to make a plate.
After eating all that food, I went back to my room and worked and slept and then worked some more and slept some more. I was bored and wandered around the
hotel a bit more and ran into Robbie and Mike in the restaurant, as well as Rafael Feijao. Around 3:30 pm I jumped in the shower and started getting ready
for my night. The fights weren't starting till 6:45 but we had a destination planned before the fights.
I met Clay at his room where we hung out as he took FOREVER to get ready. The original plan was to be at the arena tailgating by 4:30pm. We had no clue if
we would be allowed to or not, but that was the intention. We didn't end up leaving the hotel until after 5:30 and with traffic found ourselves parking by
6 in the south lot. Clay's parents met us there as well as a number of his friends. I didn't have much time to hang so I went in search of the media
entrance which was located in a building on the north side of the arena..
What I found there was shocking. The line for credentials was about 20 people long, but thats not the shocking part. The shocking part was the media
buffett that they had laid out. It was extravaggant as if we were at a black tie charity event, not like the media room of a fight. There was a UFC 90 ice
sculpture, fountains, a delicious spread of salads, soup, rice, chicken, fish, and a wide array of beautifully prepared desserts. I had about 10 minutes
to enjoy the feast before catching a shuttle over to the arena side. I grabbed a couple Fight Magazines with Miguel Torres on the cover, as well as 3
Playboys with Rachelle Leah. Both have made it home with me safe and sound!
I arrived cageside right as the first fight was entering the cage. I rushed to get my equipment set up and flipped to the familiar settings I knew for
shooting UFC fights. Josh Burkman and Pete Sell entered the cage, touched gloves and then started circling each other. Josh was definitely the aggressor
in the first round, but somehow Pete pulled through and succeeded on taking rounds two and three.
When I think of the bout between teacher and former student, two things stand out in my head. First was Hermes Franca rushing across the cage swinging
wildly as soon as the referee started the and the second were the vicious leg kicks he delved out. Hermes took the win by Unanimous Decision.
Next fight, Matt Horwich entered the arena with Bible in hand, flanked by Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland. In this fight against Dan Miller, Matt utilized
the rubber guard to continually attempt to put Miller in an omaplata which Dan escaped from each time. In between, Dan took the opportunity to rain down
punches to take the first round. At one point during the second round, Horwich gained full mount and took Dan's back to secure a rear naked choke. Dan
escaped and then Matt secured another rear naked choke as the round ended in his favor. Third round went to Dan as he bloodied Horwich's face with elbows
for the Unanimous Decision win.
Spence Fisher vs Shannon Gugerty went almost the full distance until Spencer caught Shannon in a triangle for most of the third round. Shannon, a
relatively new face in the UFC, was not really known by the crowd. After his impressive performance (yes, I know he lost but it was still a great fight!)
against long time UFC Veteran, Fisher, I'm sure Gugerty gained a level of respect from the fans.
The Leites vs McFedries fight was over as fast as it started with a rear naked choke submission by Leites at 1:18 seconds in the first round.
I spent time in between rounds trying to load my photos to my laptop and organize them. So many of the fights went to decision that night that there
really weren't any intermissions save a 15 minute one before the main card started, Thank you Thales Leites! I didn't go anywhere during that time except
for a quick bathroom break. I was tempted to make my way back to the media buffett; I refrained.
Stemm's Fallen took over the speakers in the venue as all the lights went out. The crowd cheered and everyone rushed back to their seats. The highlight
video began playing and the anticipation built up in the room. And what a way to start the card than with the fight of the night! Many knew that the Tyson
Griffin vs Sean Sherk fight would be a top contendor for that title, and were not surprised when this fight's action was nonstop taking it all the way to
a close decision.
As they announced the Verdum vs Dos Santos fight, they said that all of Junior's fights had ended in the first round. The two fighters circled and as the
thought popped into my head,"I wonder if Junior can continue that record?" a right from Dos Santos knocked Fabricio out. Whoa!
Gray Maynard vs Rich Clementi was definitely not a fan favorite as the two fought three full rounds to a chorus of boo's. Chicago's fans had to be the
worst I have heard thus far, tell you the truth. Or maybe just MMA fans as a whole are becoming super fickle? Anyways, at the end of three rounds Gray
Maynard's hand was raised in victory.
The co main event started and was a great battle between Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck. Koscheck attempted a takedown a number of times during the fight
but was unsuccessful. In the third round, Thiago gets poked in the eye, and then it flips and Koscheck got poked in the eye as well. Tell you the truth,
it could have happened the other way around. Thiago ended up taking the Unanimous Decision after a very intense fight.
For the main event, Cote was a huge underdog and many were hopeful that he would come out the victor. For two rounds though, Anderson schocked the world
with his game playing and antics that even included him trying to help Cote up in the second round. Most of the fight Anderson didn't engage, as Cote
stalked him around the cage. In the third round, all of a sudden Cote fell to the canvas out of nowhere, screaming in pain. Apparently Anderson had done
some damage to Cote during the second round in one of the few times they did engage.
The crowd was disappointed, and they let that be known. I stood there in shock, at a loss on what to do. I attempted to get a photo of Anderson with the
belt on as he left the cage but he pushed past everyone, clearly upset, and ran off towards the locker room. I felt unsettled by the event as a whole and
did the only thing I could. Packed up my backpack and then took off to the hotel with Red and Ryan.
I dropped off my backpack and made my way to the lobby to meet up with the manager from Club Moda, Vinny and the promoter, Tommy Z. They were waiting with
Randy and the rest of the Couture family (Kim, Gina, Mike, Jay, Tyson) to put them in a limo down to Club Moda where the Couture afterparty was being
held. We followed in Ryan's car, but I had them drop me off at Enclave to meet up with Punkass and Dan and hopefully Rachelle Leah (I don't know her, I
just wanted to get her photo for you guys!). I found everyone else (including some friends from Vegas) except her as I hung out for about 45 minutes
before dragging Punkass to Club Moda. Since I didn't find her though, I did what anyone else would do. Took a picture of her playboy issue lying on the
table at the club.
Upon arrival at Moda, the place was busy and we went straight to the VIP area where the fighters were.. It was wall to wall packed so I snapped my photos
and moved out of the area as quickly as I could. Tim Sylvia was sitting there quietly and declined a photo. Frank Trigg was there with his wife Nikki and
his brother. Randy and Kim hung out at the back of the VIP with Gina, Tyson, Gray, Mike, and Jay. I got a text from Jeff Clark as he brought Shannon
Gugerty in. They were accompanied by Dean Lister, Arianny Celeste and Hermes Franca as well. I found the manager, Vinny to set up their table and then
relaxed once they were taken care of. I spotted Arlovski there at one point too. I didn't hang out too much longer before taking off to Spybar.
It was a short cab ride to Spybar; They were host to Patrick Cote's afterparty. It was my 4th night there in a row! The place was busy as I walked in to
find them occupying the same table I had vacated less than 24 hours prior. Cote was bummed, but was drowning his sorrows with his friends. They were more
than happy to take photos but I didn't stay very long; instead I took my pics and then grabbed Mark Dellagrotte and Neil and we took off to Rino right
around the corner.
Joe Rogan was the special guest at Manor and Rino that night, and as I made my way to the back of the club where his table was located I passed my friends
table; I had been trying to meet up with them all night. I found Rogan hanging out in the kitchen as well as a huge group of people that included
Arlovski. And yes, they were hanging out in the kitchen! God only knows why. Out in the club at the table I found Eddie Bravo and Ari Schafer. Rogan soon
joined us and I caught a nice collection of photos as he danced and vogued next to a mirror. We shut the place down and as the lights came up, I spent
the next 30 minutes trying to get everyone back to Spybar where the owner would let our small group hang out even though it was closed.
I had texted a number of people to meet me there and I gave up on the crew that was now standing in the cold outside of Rino. I walked back to Spybar and
found Hendo and his group as well as Jay Hieron and Mike Pyle. Cole and Clay showed up shortly after and then Dellagrotte and Neil. We were there hanging
out till at least 6am before they closed up shop completely. Our stomachs rumbling, Cole, Mark, Neil and I took a cab over to Greek town to grab some late
night Gyros and french toast? We grabbed our paper bags that were already soaking in the grease from the french fries and took the cab that was waiting
outside for us the rest of the way back to the Hilton. It was 7:15 by the time I had removed the warpaint from my face and laid down to fall asleep.
You would think that my adventures were done there, but I had booked a flight out for Monday so that I could hang out with friends an extra day. I checked
out of my room and met up with Dan for lunch. Oh wow, I didn't even take my camera (good thing I had a pocket one on me)!! Some of my girlfriends from
Chicago met up with us at Giordanos; just minutes from the hotel. We had spinach and artichoke dip, a greek salad and a deep dish pizza. Yum! I don't
think I can ever get tired of a chicago style pie!
Fast forward to later in the day, I met up with a group of friends around 6pm when they picked me up from Johnny's condo downtown in a limo. I'm not going
into too many details about the evening except to say this: the evening included a stop at the strip club (same one from wednesday night), a random bar
called the US Beer company, a live band Karaoke Bar, and another stop at Spybar. I jumped off the party train at that point that continued on to Level
Nightclub. If you want to see some of the random recognizable faces that were with us, check out the album here:
Now don't be fooled... I was EXHAUSTED!! I tapped out, called it quits, said sayonara at 2am. Packed my bags, and passed out on my friend's couch. It had
been a fantastic week in Chicago but I was only happy to be heading home. I got up at 9am to head to Midway airport and was on my way home by 11. Thank
you to everyone at Spybar, you guys were awesome! Thanks also to Vinny over at Moda, and Matt at Level. Thank you to Ryan and Clay for driving my ass
around, thank you to Diann and Randy at UFC and thank you to anyone else I'm forgetting. I love chicago and I can't wait to go back again!