Saturday, November 14, 2015

League of Legends

Imagine getting to meet Rickey Henderson and taking a selfie with him.  Picture yourself shaking hands with Nolan Ryan or hanging out with Pete Rose.  Plus... as an added bonus, they were willing to sign any single item you wanted for free.  It'd be a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?

Well back in September... I had that opportunity.  Only they weren't legends of the diamond.  They were legends of the octagon.


One of my closest friends makes a living off of selling autographed sports memorabilia and he needed my help obtaining a pair of signatures at the Bellator MMA Fan Fest.


The main guy he wanted was Kazushi Sakuraba.  He's best known for taking down four members of the Gracie family and is a huge name in Japan.  However since he doesn't cross the Pacific very often, his autograph is definitely in demand over here.


The other guy he wanted was Fedor Emelianenko... who is one of the biggest names in history of the sport.


I ended up meeting both of these guys and had Sakuraba sign my buddy's magazine, while Fedor signed a glove.  Each fighter also signed these special 8x10 photographs, which my friend let me keep.

Everything else was a thank you present for helping him out...


The person I was most excited to meet was Royce Gracie.  He's the guy who originally got me interested in the sport back in the 90's when he won three of the first four UFC tournaments.  However by the mid 90's... for one reason or another... I lost interest in mixed martial arts.

Then in 2005 a few of my friends started watching the reality television show: The Ultimate Fighter.  One of the coaches that season was Randy Couture who happened to be the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at the time.


Although I was definitely cheering for Team Liddell, the legendary Couture played a big role in me rekindling my love for mixed martial arts.

Next up was Frank Shamrock...


He was the first UFC Middleweight Champion and was voted by the Wrestling Observer to be the "Fighter of the Decade" for the 90's.  Personally... I know him best for being Ken Shamrock's brother.

And last, but certainly not least is Cung Le...


Mr. Le is a local guy who fought out of San Jose and is a fan favorite in my neck of the woods.  He recently retired from mixed martial arts, but might return to professional kickboxing competitions.

Well there you have it... a warm September evening... hanging out with some legends of mixed martial arts.  It was very cool, unique opportunity to shake these guys' hands and watch them sign everyone's memorabilia.  Guys like Gracie and Sakuraba were very fan friendly and were my two favorite encounters.

Well that's it for today.

Any of you watch MMA?  Collect MMA cardboard?

Are you watching the Rousey fight tonight?

Although it doesn't rank as high as baseball, football, or hockey... I still consider myself a fan.  I'll definitely be watching tonight's fight as Ronda defends her UFC Women's Bantamweight title against Holly Holm.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

3 comments:

  1. I'm a casual UFC fan in that I know the main people (Rousey, Jose Aldo, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Randy Couture, etc.). I wish I was watching the Rousey fight tonight, the sports bar that I prefer watching it at is 30 minutes away and I don't have the cash to spend on the pay-per-view. That being said, I'm sure it'll be a wild fight.

    As for collecting MMA cardboard, yes, I do in fact collect MMA cards, although I'm very selective as to who I collect. I like cards of the UFC originals like Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, etc. I also collect some of the current fighters, but just the main people like Rousey and others. The only other fighter I try to collect on a regular basis is Jessamyn Duke, mainly because she's a distant cousin of mine and I think it's cool to have cards of one of someone in my family.

    If you ever happen to have any extra MMA cards lying around, I'd be happy to take them off your hands.

    Hope you enjoy the fights tonight!

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  2. I am a huge MMA fan, actually training in American Kenpo before I was disabled. I have a decent size MMA collection with Ryan Bader being my favorite (local guy) along with Randy Couture, Benson Henderson and Conor McGregor. I have a couple of signed gloves but the rest is cardboard.

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  3. adam - me too. i pretty much only watch the big fights. the only mma cards i actually own are singles i pick up from time to time. although i've thought about busting a box in the past. seems like you get more bang for your buck out of mma products.

    corky - can't wait to watch the mcgregor/aldo fight. love mcgregor's personality.

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