It's been a little over a week since I've been back from covering UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia and there is just something I need to get off my chest.
For a long while, I've had a crazed obsession with Sharks. Not just the visual of thinking they are cute during the setting of Jaws or devouring people's legs inside a random YouTube video titled "Deadliest Shark Attacks from 2005".
I'm more so talking about the parkour of Sharks. I mean, no jumping across buildings is involved of course, but the fear you must feel.. or not feel.. whatever.. of being crazy enough to swim with them. Give them hugs, invite them to dinner is on the list too but really it is just one thing at a time.
Given the timing and location of such desired events once I arrived in Melbourne I knew a gentleman named Anderson "The Spider" Silva also had the same passion for wanting to swim with Sharks. Knowing I couldn't give him the world in my moment of need I had to resort to the next best thing...
I know, I know... It's ok.
I know what you're thinking. The blonde girl should have worn a shawl over my nosey friends meanwhile, I don't discriminate over potential new Shark friends.
All through the start of the plane leaving San Francisco to the moment I arrived at my first UFC Press Event, I just couldn't get over the ideas I had going through my head to get Silva this damn Shark. My next moment of crime was Plan A) bring it to the Open Workouts the very next day Plan B) watch him work out on stage to then walk off for media questions.
Not only was I wrong about this structure, but I was also wrong in not wearing shorts. The amount of humidity shining down on my head with a confused yet impatient rubber Shark stuffed inside my backpack? Talk about first-world problems my friend.
I knew after that day the Press Conference would be my only hope. Maybe catching him on the way to the restroom or randomly finding him in an elevator going the wrong way somewhere. I mean, it happens.
But I was determined. That is the important thing.
During this time I was front row for MiddleEasy.
I thought if I could find a little bit of awkward time I would be golden. At this moment the thoughts in my brain were moving very fast because I was like you know what?
I could do this.
He would randomly walk in front of me maybe ask how I'm doing. Then I would retort with a very powerful victory laugh after getting a headshot in a video game or something, then I look down to already having the shark in my hand, putting it in the side view camera a saying,
"Dear Anderson Silva. I heard you are one of the greatest fighters of all time and it has been my dream to meet you. One of my goals in life is to have the GOAT tell me he loves me and walk me across the weigh-in stage!"
So with all that dialogue in the head and the Press Conference was over, the fighters start to square up.
At this moment there was a Father to the right of me that had this little kid. He stopped Sir Silva and shouts, "Anderson! Anderson! Picture!"
I looked at this moment and my heart started racing because "The Spider" himself started to walk over the side of the stage.
I knew this was my moment. Even at this time, I had buddies of mine shouting, "Do it! Do it now!" As the pressure started to cram across my chest and I knew they were right. When I looked up I see the kid smiling so big in the wake of getting this photo. I knew I had to do something.
I reached inside my bag with my sweaty hands and grabbed onto the first thing I could feel. It was a water bottle. That was a start, but not what I needed. As I pulled it out anyways a handful of things started falling out of my bag onto the floor. Including my computer falling from my lap.. onto the floor. As I looked around it looked like a scene from fucking Lord Of The Flies trying to gather everything in life to live another day.
But the time I realized I still don't have the Shark in my hand, Silva was already walking across the stage to square off against "The Style Bender" himself.
From there the day was easily over and I needed a drink.. or five... or seven.
Meanwhile, the day before the day that really matters came about it was nice to be in that moment. There wasn't an official media weigh-in, there was the only one that also happened to be the ceremonial one for media and fans. Knowing that Silva didn't have the shark in his hand when he confidently walked across the stage to then wait for Adesanya to take the stance across his.
Going back to my Airbnb I was obviously super sad that my plan had failed. Then the morning of the fight hours before Press call it couldn't get any worse. Current Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker, had to pull out of the fight for unfortunate medical reasons.
As the lightning seemed to shun down from the MMA Gods on this particular day it was hard to look past any positive light for this event.
The Champion? Out.
Shark-like hand puppet of a man handed over to Anderson Silva? Out.
I knew the moment was over and I had nothing to lose. After a few beers of sadness, my first fight event was happening. Without the original main event between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, the other one moved to place:
Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya.
Sadly Silva lost to a brilliant unanimous decision where the main event shifted to three rounds. It was a fight for the fans in order to motivate the masses. To show what Silva is still capable of after the age of 40.
I got to shine a light on this and clear the air during the Post Fight Press Conference. Also, I finally got to ask him about Sharks.
In conclusion, oh FUCK.
I forgot to light the prayer candles...