HAIL HAIL forum of forums Boomer’s got a tale to tell. Let me start off by saying I’m sorry I didn’t post throughout the week. Matt had asked me too and at night when I would normally do this I was pre-occupied with my 9 and 7 year old nephews. My brother lives in Denver and I get to see them twice a year so I was pulling double duty this trip. SO … I am sorry. matt loves to keep you all connected to him in fight week and I dropped the ball on that one. Flogging the next time you see me.
BUT let me catch you up on the week NOW so I have a little bit of redemption. I got here on Monday after a 6 hour delay. A small delay in my first flight sent the trip down a looong path of waiting. I had planned to scope out the city on Monday for a place to eat after weigh ins and a place for the after party, so I was more annoyed at a delay then normal. Normally I don’t mind as much. I like people watching, and airport food, and walls of magazines to look through. I also can sit and write a bit which a never make time for when I am at home. When I finally got to my brothers in was 1030 I think which was 12:30 Virginia time. As soon as I walked in the door my sis in law gave me a hug and out run the two boys Gabriel and Drew and tackled me. I asked them why they weren’t asleep and they said they couldn’t until I got there.
I got an early start on Tuesday after looking online for some Italian restaurants close to the weigh ins. The plan I walk through is usually something like I go to the venue where the weigh ins will be (which will be a different venue from where the fights are) and check out all the places within a mile or two. matt will be hungry and needing to start getting his strength back from the cut. Although I must say this was a pretty easy cut for matt this go round. The entire week he was just a few pounds over where he needed to be so it was just maintaining until weigh-ins to shed the few pounds in the sauna.
I get to the Wells Fargo Theater and park, pull out the IPhone and less than a mile is Maggiano’s. It’s a chain with a pretty good reputation so I always hit those places first, especially after Oakland. I really was worried in Oakland matt would get food poisoning or something … I had called ahead and talked with the manager Tony who was a big matt fan. I had called the reservation line earlier and they told me that they could not support a party that big. They were all booked up. When one door closes, look for an open window. I called manager directly and explained what I needed an why and he said he would make it happen for matt hughes, so I was hoping that when we met everything would be good to go. It was walking distance from the weigh in place, so I started off and passed right in front of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. It looked like a big building and it was about a mile from the Pepsi Center. I stopped in and asked to talk with the manager. I talked with a guy named Sean and he had no idea who matt was, but they did have a party room in the back, so he took me up to see it. It looked like it would be a good place to mingle after the fights. matt likes a low key place where he can talk with the people who came out to support him and reconnect with old friends that make the trek to watch him battle. This place would do. It’s close, private and the food was good. Sean told me that someone would call me about food needs and what not but the room was mine. Glorious.
After that I continue the march over to Maggiano’s. Tony was there with a smile on his face. I said, “I like smiles .. smile means things are going right.” Tony, “Yes sir I got you all taken care of, let me show you what we got. He took me back and showed me a section of the restaurant that had a small wall, a long table and some booths. I told him we would need about 15 seats and explained to him the nuances of a weigh in. It might end early so I need a block of time reserved not just a “6:00pm” reservation. Most big establishments on Friday nights will not do that. Tony said, “No problem”. I later called and increased the reservation to 20 and moved the time and he once again took care of it. He did asked for a set of signed gloves, so matt took care of him with that. I walked around a bit after that, scoping out the parking situation and best routs in and out of the place. By that time matt had called and he was at the hotel and told me to come over, he was doing UFC stuff.
I got to the hotel and went to the UFC offices. I was surprised with a “hey Boomer” by one of the guys that helps out with the operations of the UFC. I walk up behind matt and Jon Jones is right next to him and they are doing all the pre-fight paper work. They are the only two fighters in the room. Burt, the main operations guy on fight week for the UFC, is talking and joking around with matt as usual. matt calls Burt "Elmer" because he is the glue that hold the place together. At the weigh ins Joe Rogan calls him the “babysitter of the stars”. Both terms are true. After the paperwork they get the weeks schedule that matt hands off to me and him a Jon Jones move over to the center table to sign I think it was 200 fight posters. The feeling of the room is very light with talk of the old days, matt and Jon talking and joking, which you see carry over at the weigh ins, UFC staff telling stories and everyone just enjoying the company. Before you knew it all the posters were signed.
After that we head up to the room, talking and catching up a bit. Once we get to the room, matt says, “Hey Boomtown did you hear about what I got the boys this fight?” .. “Nope, what cha got?” matt wrestles through his bags with a smile and pulls out a tan sheath about the length of my forearm. He pulls out a black knife that is the knives of all knives. In the black blade has engraved Team Hughes on one side and on the other was Robbie Lawler. These knives where beautiful. I have a small collection of blades and the weight and craftsmanship of this knives was just beautiful a true work of art. The handle was a material that I had never seen before but felt and looked like black lava rock and it was sharp enough to split a hair. Matt starts pulling out knives and reading off names and wants to label them on the outside so he knows who to give them too without unsheathing every single one. He pulls a few out and reads off the name, I wrote it down on paper and stuck it behind the handle. About two knives in, he smiles and shows me the next knife and it said Boomtown. I got a smile on my face I couldn’t hide if I wanted to. I take it from him and look at this awesome work. One of those times when “thank you” seems extremely inadequate, but you just don’t know what else to do so it’s all you can say. Well that and a hug .. I’m a touchy person.
After I stair at it for a bit matt asked “ Did you think I wouldn’t get you one?”
“ I’m certainly not complaining you did, but I never expect anything from you matt.” I put the knife in the sheath and we finish labeling the rest.
I will have to finish later. My Nephews Birthday party is about to start and I gotta go. I made him castle cakes with a gummy bear war .... Still got a lot to cover with this trip!! The worst movie ever, ULTIMATE Hughes, Old friends coming together, Karaoke and much much more!!