This Saturday the 14th I will be attending a UFC Fight Night event in Vancouver, B.C., whose main event features Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who holds the all-time record for most wins in the organization, and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje, a former World Series of Fighting (now known as the Professional Fighters League) lightweight champion and one of the most popular fighters in all of mixed martial arts.
I have been an enthusiast of the sport for nearly a decade but this will be my first time watching one live in person. I will be arriving the morning of Friday the 13th (yeah, I know) in time to attend the afternoon ceremonial weigh-in’s and leaving late on Sunday the 15th. I will have a post up the next day, or the 16th, recapping the event and describing how the experience differs in the flesh for those who, like me, watch almost every event but have questions to this effect.
I have heard it is, indeed, quite different, and that one’s enjoyment hinges at least partially on where in the arena one is seated. Luckily, I was able to secure a spot in what I have read is an optimal vantage area: the closest section to the octagon besides the main floor immediately surrounding it. In the map shown below, I will be situated about midway up the section designated 106.
This is one of the most universally anticipated Fight Night main events the UFC has put on in 2019 and it has everything to do with the reputation both Cerrone and Gaetjhe have cemented for themselves throughout their respective careers. They are both dynamic, battle-tested veterans in their athletic primes and, as both are ranked in the top five of the lightweight division (155lbs), on the final stretch of championship runs.
I have already talked with some of you through Twitter who are likewise attending and look forward to meeting you all and perhaps sharing a pint or two while I am in town. I expect there will be, as is usually the case, a fan Q&A prior to Friday’s weigh-in’s and will be attending this as well if so. ESPN is launching a new program called “UFC Live” around this same time, however, and I am unclear as to whether this will be open to the public and/or ticket holders for Saturday’s fights. I have reached out to the author of this announcement article for clarification and will update this post upon reply.
Anyway, this year has been a turbulent one for me to say the least and, as MMA is one of my happy places, the timing of this event is a much appreciated stroke of serendipity. For those attending, I will see you there! And for the rest of you, if you have any trouble spotting me in the crowd, just look for the guy with the dark goatee waving glow sticks in the air with apparent frenzy and no shirt on. If more than one person fits this description, well, they probably deserve your attention too.