Dan Duggan wrote a great article for the Boston Herald about my fight, the UFC coming to Boston, the UFC Fan Expo and Josh Grispi. So here you go…
Speak to anyone involved in mixed martial arts and they’ll all say the same thing: You haven’t really experienced the sport until you’ve attended a live event.
Joe Lauzon has seven UFC bouts under his belt and has attended another 30 events as a spectator. He said the experience of a live event is far superior than watching a pay-per-view on television.
“It really is amazing,” Lauzon said. “You see it a little bit better on TV because no matter where you are, when they have eight cameras in the ring, and they’re jumping from best angle to best angle, you’re going to see it best sitting at home. But the energy and actually being there, it’s unbelievable.”
Lauzon said every MMA fan needs to experience a live event once. Local fans get that opportunity Aug. 28 when UFC 118 comes to TD Garden. Tickets went on sale to the public on Friday.
While New England is known for its rabid sports fans, Lauzon said the UFC experience is unparalleled.
“It’s like 10-fold at the UFC because everyone is watching,” the East Bridgewater native said. “At any point someone can get knocked out. Just the (fighters’) entrances alone are unbelievable. A lot of times (on TV) you really don’t get to see the entrances that well or the prelims or the undercard and things like that. There are always great fights. Anyone can win or lose at any time. It’s the best.”
It’s the anticipation that anything can happen that sets UFC events apart from the norm among live sports. Lauzon vividly remembers his experience at one of the first UFC fights he attended.
It was UFC 69 on April 7, 2007 in Houston, with a welterweight title fight between champion Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra headlining the card. Serra TKO’d St. Pierre to secure one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
“Every bit of oxygen got sucked out of that place when (Serra) hit him with that first punch,” Lauzon said. “It was unbelievable. You could literally feel the pressure in the place change. Everyone breathed in at once. It’s ridiculous being there in person. You really can’t compare it to anything else.”
Lauzon, who will fight Terry Etim at the Garden, knows the UFC is going to go all out for its Massachusetts debut. The UFC will hold a fan expo at the Hynes Convention Center on Aug. 27 and 28.
The expo gives fans a chance to meet dozens of their favorite UFC fighters. There are opportunities for photos and autographs, as well as other activities. Lauzon expects the expo to push the buzz for the Boston show over the top.
“The fight on its own will be unbelievable,” Lauzon said. “Adding in the expo and things like that, there are going to people who aren’t even from Boston who are going to be buying tickets and flying in. It’s not just like it’s some tiny, little show.”
Fans who have never attended a UFC show will want to make sure they are in their seats well before the event goes live on pay-per-view. The UFC traditionally shows a package of video highlights set to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” on the arena’s video boards.
With the most memorable clips in UFC history set to a perfect soundtrack, the montage sets the stage for a memorable night.
“On any given night, you can see all kinds of clips that happen just like that,” Lauzon said. “It just kind of reminds you of how crazy things can go. When the pay-per-view starts, it’s about to go down. Someone is going to get knocked out, you’re going to see some awesome submission.
“I was talking about when Serra knocked out St. Pierre. That’s something I’ll always remember. Almost every single time I’ve gone, I’ve seen something ridiculous.”