Itâ€™s taken me a little while to get around to finally writing about it, but I was in attendance for UFC 78 in Newark, NJ. Though this was not my first live MMA event, it was my first UFC and I learned a few things for next time.
1. Unless you have Rows 1-3, the floor seats really arenâ€™t that good. We spent most of the time looking up at the monitors to see what was happening because as soon as the fights went to the ground or the opposite side of the octagon, it was almost impossible to make anything out. We were seated close to where the fighters made their entrances which was cool, but only gave us 10 seconds of viewing per fighter.
Many of the prime seats went to celebrities, most of whom didnâ€™t appreciate them. AJ from the Sopranos was in our section with at least ten people, and they stayed for 1 full fight and were in and out (mostly out) the rest of the time.
If you want to go, get one of the first few rows off the floor. They are cheaper and elevated so you can see more of what is happening.
2. I now understand why the crowds tend to “boo” so much. It used to bother me that an audience wouldnâ€™t appreciate the ground game or clinch fighting, but having been there, I now understand why they donâ€™t. Itâ€™s because you canâ€™t see what the hellâ€™s going on. The camera men do a very good job of capturing the action and the monitors are up for all to see, but the more you watch them, the more you realize that you could be doing the same thing at home for much less.
3. Bring ear plugs. They run some insanely loud videos during the event and though loud music doesnâ€™t bother me, these videos did cause me to have to stick my fingers in the old audio receptors.
4. Five minutes is a very long time. On television, each five minute round seems to go by very quickly. Being there, it feels incredibly long. I have much more appreciation for the conditioning these fighters go thru to be able to last 3 to 5 five minute rounds.
5. The event goes much faster than I expected. The fights started at 8:15, the Pay Per View started at 10:00. When I watch on TV Iâ€™ve always felt bad for the crowd when the commentators are talking and ads and promos are playing because there isnâ€™t any action going on for them. Having been in that spot, it actually is hardly noticeable and the event moves at a very tight pace.
6. The UFC appreciates their fans. Dana White took a lot of time to make his way around the crowd for pictures and hand shakes. He didnâ€™t come to our section, but the fact that he was doing it is what counts. Champions, Matt Serra and Quinton Jackson, also walked thru the crowd and took pictures and shook hands.
All in all, the event was fun, and I feel like I came away with a new understanding of the UFC product.