Hey Forum folks, Llama here!
Well my part of the week started Thursday mornign as I eagerly ddeparted from NY's La Guardia airport. I had a transfer in Atlanta but was in Denver before I knew it.
When I landed I received a voicemail from Boomer letting me know that he was tied up with Matt's weight cutting and would most likely meet me later on. Boomer had gotten a room near downtown for us to crash in Friday and Saturday (as we knew the karaoke would be epic) so I grabbed and easy shuttle service and headed toward the Mile High City. On the way I checked in with Red (SteveT) and his wife Lynsey. We didn;t realize we were going to be landing so close or we probably would have arranged some sort carpool situation, but alas, things work the way they do;)
I got to the Ramada, which was about a half mile from The Pepsi Center, and checked in. They were kind enough to extend the reservation to cover Thursday night and all was right with the world. I was content to eat some junkfood and watch cable TV for the rest of the day. You see, I don't have cable at home so this is a treat for me
Boomer texted me and said he was helping Matt but would try and swing over and get me later on. I replied that I was happy as a clam and that not to rush. Matt is the priority this trip and the last thing I want to do is disrupt their routine. So I watched that movie about the hiker who cuts his own arm off, ate cup o soup and sandwiches, and hunkered down for the night. Boomer texted a little bit later to say he had to take Jeremy Horn to the airport bright and early and that he was just going ot crash with Matt. No problemo!
The next day I woke up to a text from Boomer that said "3.5lbs over!". I responded "No problem, right? WAR HUGHES". Boomer responded, "RIGHT!"
I then checked in with Danny (Silverback) and he had arrived and was enroute with John Davis.
Boomer let me know where the weigh ins were and where we'd be eating after weighins, so I thought it'd be good to head downtown and get my bearings. I also wanted to get a sense of where everything was in case anyone needed help getting with directions. So I, threw on my Team Hughes (Boomer edition) t-shirt, took a free shuttle to The Wells Fargo center, and found a starbucks right across the street.
I had a map of downtown and the gal at starbucks was really helpful in plotting all the locations. Boomer then texted and asked if I would contact the Frontier Inn and see if we could get a reservation for our Karaoke extravaganza. I called them and they were more than happy to put a table for 15 aside for us. I let Boomer know we were good to go and he said "great, see ya at the restaurant after weighins"!
I guzzled some coffee and a sandwich and about that time Danny shoots me a text.
"where ya at"
"Starbucks by Welss Fargo Theatre. You?"
"In Fight Club Line"
"Be there in 5"
That was my cue so I gathered my stuf and hoofed it over to the theatre.
I got to the back of the line and didn't see the old man;)
Then after a quick call we spotted eachother.
I asked if everyone he was with had a bracelet to get in (as I had a guest pass that I hated to see go to waste)
Danny mentioned that Christie Philips and her friend were coming and that One of them might need it. About 10 minutes later I see Christie and Co walking down the line looking for Danny. We greeted eachother and I pointed out where Danny and John were in line. They both had access bands so I said I'd hang on to it and they went up to Danny.
Not long after that the doors opened and we all filed into the theatre. The gang was nice enough to save me a seat. Steve and Lynsey came in a few minutes later and sat a few rows back. The Q and A started in a few minutes with Rashad Evans.
I'll be real honest that I'm back and forth on how I feel about Rashad, but I thought his Q and A was really good. Funny, insightful, and it flew by. I was sitting right behind one of the microphones so the audience was subjected to my goofy mug whenever someone from my side asked a question. It also worked out that Christie's friend Tim (recent transplant to Denver) was able to use my extra access band, shich made me happy.
Once the weighins started Boomer came down to say hey and make sure we all knew where the restaurant was.
Matt came out and made weight, stared down and we were all set to go eat.
I walked over with Christie, Red, Lynsey, and Chistie's awesome friend (who's name is escaping me), and Christie was nice enough to let me put my poster in her car.
We got to the restaurant and not long after Matt and his crew showed up. Matt, Robbie, Pena, Jens, Tony Fryklund, Zucca, and Hoagie showed up. We sat down to eat and I sat on the end across from BOomer. As I came around the table Matt says "oh so you're going ot be in the hot seat". I wasn't sure what he meant until a short while later when Rachelle Leah and her riend showed up and I found myself sitting next to the former host of UFC All Access. Boomer must have seen my eyes grow to the size of baseballs, because he kind of laughed at me. Not long after that Rashad Evans sat down and once again I was at a loss. LOL
The food was really good. matt had a bowl of chicken primavera right away so he coudl start putting some calories back into his body. he ate about half and was called over to a booth behind us to have an interview with Fox sports (I think). The atmosphere was like a reunion of sorts for Matt and his friends. Monte Cox was sitting right by us and there were stories and laughter fillign the air. I really felt like a fly on the wall and just listened. I also got to catch up with Boomer and Tony Zucca which was nice. sitting next to me, I found out (shortly after sitting down) was Joe Betar and his family. Joe is the President of Texas Trophy Hunters and one awesome guy. hsi wife and son were a lot of fun to talk to and we jsut had a great time talking about the show and hearing behind the scenes stories about Matt. Joe mentioned some of the awesome things they're going to be adding to the show in coming season so tune in!
After dinner it was time for Matt and crew to head back to their hotel. Matt's wife, Audra, and Matt's brother in law Drew had arrived and they were waiting for him in the lobby restaurant. Boomer said I could ride back with Matt and his team and that was a real treat. On the way there I sat shotgun and was trying to kind of stay out of everything. I could tell this time with his buddies meant a lot to Matt and the last thing I wanted to do was interfere. Well we cruising towards the hotel and I hear Matt in the back ask " Hey Boomtown, what's Llama doing now?" Boomer responds "sitting right here". and I kind of look back and wave and say hey.Matt says "Oh I just assumed that was Hoagie up there". You see i know that Matt knows me from the fights I've been to and we've shared a meal in NY , but I know that Matt also meets a lot of people in a year and also he had a lot on his mind. Well let me just say it meant a lot to hear him ask about me at that moment.
We get back to the hotel after a RAVE review of the movie "Drive" by Robbie Lawler. We walk into the lobby and Matt is immediately asked for autographs and photos. One fan showed Matt a photo of him getting his hand raised after the Renzo fight. Matt was anxious to get over to see Audra but still gave the fans their time.
We all sat down in the empty hotel restaurant and everyone kind of relaxed. I sat next to Matt Pena and talked about his gun Matt got him after the Renzo fight. He's ordered a tripod for it and says he's got lots of room out in Utah to shoot it. While we're sitting for a few minutes Matt says "Hey Llama did you see what I got the boys?" he then brings over one of the Kabars and lets me hold it. Let me jsut say that is one of the coolest knives I've ever had my hands on. A few minutes later Robbie goes up to the rooms to get the guys their knives. He returns a few minutes with his knife in it's sheath strtapped to his leg. When asked he says "I know all these guys are getting knives and I don't want them bullying me. LOL
not long after Jens sits down with us and he and I start talking video games a bit too. Matt gives him his knife and also presents Tony Fryklund with his knife. both guys were beyond excited. Everyone was given multiple warnings to be careful because those things wee surgically sharp.
We sit and talk for a while and then Matt says "Hey Llama are thsoe your sunglasses on the floor". I look under my chair and yes indeed they were. I often carry them by folding them with 1 arm in my fron pocket. thsi leads to me constantly dropping them. " I just didn't want you to lose them" Matt says. Thanks Matt Hughes!
Boomer and I decide we'd better get over to The Frontier Inn for Karaoke so we say goodbye to everyone. We are joined by Drew, who is Audra's younger brother. He a really cool guy and we have a great time talking on the 15 minute drive to the Karaoke bar. We get to the place and the bouncer is checking ID's. I didn't realize the place was 21 and up. so we decide to return Drew to the hotel. I felt really bad for not checking ahead of time, but Drew assured us it was okay.
As we're pulling out I see two guys really eyeing our car. As we go past the taller of the two guys gives me a "whatsup" headnod and I return it. Boomer then