Jan
11

UFC 120 Training Camp Journal – Day 40 – “The UFC Warm Welcome”

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Arriving at the London Airport at around midnight (our Iowa time), the time change made it around six o’clock in the morning instead. After going through customs, we met our UFC representative –the guy holding wearing the UFC hat, UFC t-shirts and carrying the sign marked Zuffa (UFC)– and walked about 10 minutes to get to a place close to where his van was located.

Once we got there we had to wait about an hour longer due to the fact that he had another fighter that he had to wait for. When that guy finally arrived, he became lost for about twenty more minutes. Finally, after all the waiting we embarked on a thirty minute drive to the hotel we were staying at.

Even though I hadn’t slept at all, I really didn’t feel tired so I decided to stay awake. We all decided to stay up.

First thing on the agenda was to head down to the UFC’s temporary office which was located in one of the many conference rooms here within the very nice hotel that all the fighters, coaches and corner men were staying at. Once there, they took photos of both Spencer and I, for our licenses. Spencer also did a video interview for UFC.com and signed a bunch of the event posters. It turns out that all of the fighters get a poster signed by every fighter on the fight card. I joked with the UFC guys about not getting one, back when I fought at UFC Fight Night 7. Well it wasn’t really a joke because I never did get one but I guess it turned out that they weren’t doing the same thing back then.

When we were all done there, we received a tour of the entire UFC floor from Burt who is one of the head guys here in terms of event co-ordination. He showed us the workout rooms, a bunch of other stuff and shared some cool stories from back in the days when he was heavily involved in the game of pro boxing. It was easy to tell that he really liked Spencer and that the two of them have seen each other man times over the years. Having fought in the UFC more than most fighters –close to fourteen times– Spencer’s been with the organization a very long time and that’s not including the many times he’s worked in the corner of team Militich fighters throughout the years.

Back in our hotel room –which was nothing too extravagant– I snatched up the hand mitts and changed my clothes in to something better suited for training. Ten minutes later we were in the workout room putting some work in. A few rounds of shadow fighting, then some time spent working on the hand mitts and lastly some grappling practice. The whole time Spencer was wearing a bunch of clothes and a plastic top to see how much water weight he could sweat out. Ten pounds is the amount of weight he has to cut before Friday’s weigh-in.

By the time the workout finished I was beginning to feel the effects of not sleeping; my head ached and a spell of slight dizziness came over me all of the sudden. I pretty much ignored it knowing that I would catch up on my sleep later that day.

Hitting the streets of London, Eric, Spencer and I went for a very long walk. We stopped at a bunch of stores along the way to check out what they had. Eventually we stopped inside a hair salon where I got a quick cut from a nice guy named Georgian. It’s tough to tell what kind of money I’m paying for things when I’m paying using pounds instead of dollars but I think it was the good deal especially since he did a pretty good job. He’s no Anthony –my regular guy– but he didn’t massacre my hair which was good. I still remember getting my hair cut before my UFC fight on Spike TV at some local place in San Diego and the girl cut it way to short making my head look massive on the television screen. Alright, that’s way too much writing about hair; let’s get back to the important stuff.

Our second workout of the day, again taking place in our designated workout room –which was a hotel room containing a water jug, some mats and not much else–, was late in the day.

What did we do?

Once again, pad work and grappling. There were a few other fighters in the room which made things a little bit crowded but Spencer didn’t seem very mind as he turned up the pace, hitting the pads with more power and speed than ever before. It was obvious, by his demeanour, energy and intensity that he is feeling great and is very excited to fight. It was excellent to see!

Spencer went to bed a short while later. Eric and I went across the street to grab some food at a local pub. I ate a monstrous hamburger in the middle of a place that had a great atmosphere. Not really a tourist place, the bar was filled with locals and had an amazing feel to it. We stayed for roughly an hour before travelling back to our hotel.

Soon everyone was asleep, Spencer –since he’s the fighter– got the big bed to himself and Eric and I split the sofa bed with absolutely no cuddling…

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