All you had to do was open the local Abu Dhabi newspaper to notice how today is truly a special Saturday for the Arab Emirates.
In the sports section, a giant photo of Anderson Silva. In yesterday’s paper, a photo of Wanderlei Silva, as a reminder of how the UFC is becoming international. “Within three months we’ll hold a UFC in Afghanistan for the troops,” Dana White would say in an article in Abu Dhabi’s The National. “It will be a lot of work, there will be a lot of concern with security, but we’re going to do it. The folks will go by helicopter, we’re seeing to it,” added Dana in the article. The UFC president also went on to explain the next step for the show in the Emirates: a reality show to reveal the local MMA champion.
The article goes on to remind of how the toughest guys in UFC 112 had other professions before the career of fighter: there’s a butcher, a wood chopper, a suit… “I worked in McDonald’s,” remembers Anderson Silva, who would go on to face Demian Maia in the main event of the first UFC to be held in open air.
In the hotel lobby, there was a lot of fan action, mainly from the Americans present. Georges Saint-Pierre spoke politely with everyone, taking photos. Renzo was another to draw a lot of attention yesterday, when he weighed in wearing a Machester City jersey. A present from the Sheikhs? No, I bought it at the shop upstairs,” revealed Gracie.
Yesterday Renzo had dinner with Sheikh Tahnoon, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers in the palace. As an appetizer, a long no-gi training session with the Sheikh and ADCC 2009 champion Braulio Estima, who showed up at a lean 80 kg, which he will carry starting now, for his MMA career.
The temperature is incredibly pleasant; perfect for the spectacle. Among those present in the area were Ricardo Cachorrão, Roberto Gordo, André Galvão, Joinha Guimarães, Ramon Lemos, Pat Cooligan, Sérgio Ignácio, announcer Bruce Buffer, doctor and black belt Zé Alfredo Padilha and the untiring Paulinha Saack, of Brazil’s Combat channel.