Today I had the pleasure of attending the UFC 123 weigh-in with my Lights Out Radio co-hosts Neil Wagner and Forrest Lynn at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich., and I figured I'd give everybody my thoughts.
- The crowd was extremely hot for the big three fights on the card. I think we were all shocked at the reaction Joe Lauzon and George Sotiropoulos got when their fight came up on the big board. Lauzon got a big reaction coming out. I was very surprised by that. It goes to show how much of a difference television exposure can make when creating new stars. The UFC has to be happy with that reaction. The staredown for this fight also really got people buzzing for this one.
- Quinton Jackson is very popular. He was pretty much roundly cheered. His main event opponent, Lyoto Machida, got some boos but more cheers than boos overall. That surprised me in a way. Did the boos come because people just really liked Rampage or was it because they just don't like Machida? I would be more inclined to say it was the former and not the latter. The little incident during the staredown had people first wondering what happened but then when it was worked out, people figured it out.
- The fight that is probably going to have the biggest reaction in the building Saturday night is the welterweight rematch between Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn. I fully expect the building to be electric for this fight. Both fighters were extremely popular.
- Outside of those three fights, there wasn't much of a reaction for any fighters other than Karo Parisyan, and that's to be expected considering his status as a long-time UFC veteran.
- At around 4 p.m., we were told they had some backstage issues so things wouldn't be starting on-time. Then I opened up my Twitter on my phone and saw Dana White tweeting about pulling into the arena and thanking his driver for being bad ass. Yep, he was late to the weigh-in because he was in New York City. I found that interesting.
- Mark Munoz absolutely destroyed the bottle of whatever he was drinking after he weighed in. I just watched him down this thing in amazement. I can't remember if it was Neil or Forrest, but there was talk of it looked like he was shotgunning it. I got a kick out of that. I also got a kick out of he and Aaron Simpson going into a wrestling stance for their staredown. Too bad White didn't join in! That would've been funny.
So that's about it. Fun times. Sadly, I won't be going to the show because of a family commitment, but I will hopefully be able to convince either Neil or Forrest to post a Fanpost about their live experience.