By now you know that
Mola Ram Anderson Silva ripped out Forrest Griffin's heart and flambéed it before 17,500 fans in Philadelphia. What you (hopefully) do not know is this: Gerard Butler plays with his haggis at the urinal.
Before we get to that, however, some background: I arrived at the scene on Friday to find my guide, whom you shall know as Taco, crippled by drink. This abomination had gone on a J.Crew shopping spree and locked himself in his apartment with his cat, Tranny, a devil-beast that oozes pus from multiple back sores.
"Don't try anything funny," Taco said, as he let me in. "I keep a length of beating pipe in my bedroom."
Philadelphia, as I was quick to learn, is a pipe-beating town, a place where on Tuesday afternoons, men think nothing of sprinting down Broad Street with lengths of steel and a desire to maim. Philly is also a lite beer & jorts town and, hence, the ideal setting for MMA, which became obvious when we reached the arena on Saturday and encountered a vast collection of snaggletoothed shankers, many of whom seemed to know Taco personally.
"I'm a big deal here," he snapped and barged past security.
Since Friday night, Taco had been on a nasty trip about John Kruk's younger son. A few years back, Taco had infiltrated ESPN the Weekend and been seized about the waist by lil' Kruk and violated while Big Kruk looked on approvingly. Clearly, the memory still haunted my friend. "You can't write any of this down," he said.
And thus I wrote it down and we skulked into the Wachovia tunnels to set about our business. Here's what I learned/observed during the next nine hours:
1.) I am a "disgusting blogger blogging for a disgusting blog." I was told this several times. In fact, I was introduced in this fashion to an ESPN the TV Producer. "You're from Deadspin?" she sniffed. "I shouldn't even talk to you. ... You just hammered Erin Andrews." Really? Here? By the look of things, this brute was attending the event as a UFC guest with no intention of committing journalism. Go on then, you heavily tattooed paragon of virtue. Lecture away. Alas, when I took out my pad to record the piety, the fear gripped her and she removed herself from my disgusting company. Which was a pity. Because I wanted to film her naked.
2.) Anderson Silva turned Forrest Griffin into a stumblebum with one of the most outlandish and amazing knockout punches ever thrown — a goofy, backpedaling right flick of a jab. Here's what Marc Ratner, the former head of the Nevada Athletic Commission and a man who knows from fisticuffs, said when asked if he'd ever seen such a knockout: "No."
Here's Roy Jones, Jr., ever the self-promoter, on the same question: "Only three fighters in the world can do that. One was Muhammad Ali. The second is Roy Jones, Jr. The third is Anderson Silva."
Of course, Ali knocked out Liston with a similar-looking punch that the conspiracy nuts have been freeze-framing for decades. And, sure enough, right after the Silva-Griffin fight there was talk of a dive, which doesn't make much sense (unless a sneak Silva-Jones bout actually is in the works). The punch landed flush. And Griffin was already hurt/broken so profoundly that lil' Kruk could have finished the job.
3.) A smattering of advice screamed at fighters by Philly's excitable fans:
a) "Hit him like you mean it!"
b) "Kick him in the shins!"
c) "He can't breath when you put your shoulder in his mouth!" (If the person who shouted this is reading, I would like to film you naked.)
4.) The sad downfall of the hipster warrior. It started off so well. Amir Sadollah pranced into the cage to Persian techno, his mullet flapping. But then something terrible happened: four-time All-American wrestler Johny Hendricks punched Sadollah in the face very hard. And then the mean man did it again. The fight was over in less than 30 seconds, although the stoppage was a mite early. How ironic.
5.) Alright, fine. I know you've been waiting for it. At some point in the evening, your correspondent had to relieve himself. "The Wachovia is filthy," Taco said. "You'd be better off finding a quiet corner with some paper towels." I ignored him and went to the press center bathroom instead, wherein I found a line of grumpy hacks. Wherein I also found a wobbly Gerard Butler battling a urinal, in wide alpha stance. Never in all my days have I seen such macho pissing. And then, well, it is my duty as a disgusting blogger to report this, but I think it best summed up by that old lavatory maxim: If you shake it more than twice, etc., etc. Readers, I assure you — King Leonidas was playing with it.
Shortly after witnessing this obscenity, a championship fight happened and B.J. Penn took a beating pipe to Kenny Florian's face, then choked him into submission. Or something like that. It was time to go. Taco was rapping LL Cool J lyrics at me and "throwing up his G's." He'd become dangerous, unmanageable and when he started signing unsolicited autographs in his palsied fist, I knew it was only a matter of time until someone in the crowd attacked us.
And so I shall leave you, as I left Philadelphia: in a whorl of shame. I saw octagonesses shove 10,000-calorie plates of chicken and pasta into themselves like linebackers. I met a competitive eater from King of Prussia who lives in a bee-infested townhouse. I saw a Hollywood star tugging his pud. I was demeaned and brutalized at every turn. But at least I can do one decent thing before I go. I promised a nice young fellow I sat next to at the fight that, in an act of daringly experimental old-media/new-media hybrid journalism, I'd rewrite the kicker to his column for a Deadspin audience. So here it is (italics mine):
It was a loud crowd, too. They cheered and booed with equal enthusiasm, ooh-ed and aah-ed with every uppercut landed, every elbow delivered, every submission attempted. A din filled the arena, and it reminded everyone that Philly was a great fight town once, and can be again ... if only it weren't such a pipe-beating, jort-wearing sewer.
Luke O'Brien is a writer in Washington DC. He's written about MMA for Washington Post Magazine, SI.com and other publications.
Photo via muls96's Flickr account.