In Toronto, as you may have noticed, stories in the news in recent days haven’t been all too impressive. Here and there a few curious tidbits trickle out, some minor details, but no bombs dropping. The press makes an effort, the UFC staff is efficient to the extreme, the fighters are charismatic and the coaches spirited, and everyone knows at these times the public adores a bit of zest in the statements being made. By Tuesday, though, the big news was that there was no big news.
Shoot, but what about the 11-million-dollar gate, a record not just for the UFC but in the entire history of the stadium (which has received Michael Jordan, baseball legends and so many other stars)? Neat. And what about the 40 million dollars Toronto will make from tourism on a single week? Cool, but… Ah, and how about the fact tickets for UFC 129 were sold at every corner of Canada and the USA and on every continent except for Antarctica? Well, too bad for the penguins. Until yesterday, when the big break came.
There at the tail end of the “Toronto Sun” cover story with a photo of Saint-Pierre swinging menacingly, Tom Wright, the director of UFC operations in Canada, says that during weigh-ins on Friday afternoon…:
“For the first time in history we will have all seven champions, all seven title holders, assembled in the same place at the same time,” uttered Tom. Boom. “It’s all about introducing the sport to as many people as possible.”
Did you stop to think that one over? The seven great ones, each with their belt? What could be better than that? I can see it all now.
Speaking Spanish, Cain Velasquez the giant begs forgiveness for having stepped on and broken the belt of bantamweight Dominick Cruz – who had it around his waist! Jon Jones and Anderson Silva spend the entire ceremony jabbering about rap and rhythm ‘n blues and heaping praise on each other – a “You’re the man,” here and a, “Get out, you’re my idol,” there. What a drudge. Until a thief runs past and Jones darts after him in pursuit.
José Aldo, the featherweight champion, asks Dana White to promote an open weight tournament. He can make it that very Friday. Everyone refuses. The Amazonas native hastens to add he meant in “Winning Eleven” – but just to smooth things over. Saint-Pierre asks whether the Armani he’s wearing works with his belt.
Sick of standing still for two hours, Frankie Edgar takes to discreetly hopping in place. Then some calf raises. By the time everyone’s eyes have turned to him he’s doing pushups and crunches – all at the same time.
All that going on while Randy Couture and Royce Gracie are just looking on laughing, like someone pridefully watching their grand kids causing a ruckus.
Can you picture it? I’m going to head over there and try and see it all up close. I’ll tell you about it later.