F4W Convention + UFC 189 Vegas Weekend

F4W Convention

As always, the F4W Convention equals a great time.

In lieu of the usual Top Five column, I’m going to write about the UFC 189 weekend, which coincided with the 2015 F4W/Wrestling Observer convention.

For the last ten years or so (it’s arguable which was the first convention), the F4W subscribers have been heading out to Vegas for a weekend of shenanigans, hijinks, and tomfoolery. We used to get together during Memorial Day weekend, but since the UFC created International Fight Week in early July, the convention is now smackdab during the summer.

Friday

My flight was delayed by nearly an hour for one reason or another so I was a bit late getting to Vegas. Hilariously, when my flight was delayed two hours going home, the pilot apologized and said that he was so sorry we were delayed and that Southwest would make it up to us. So they owe me two?

The convention actually starts on Thursday as some of the crew had a Brazilian steakhouse dinner and then scurried off to watch Cris Cyborg destroy a woman inside the Invicta cage. But I don’t come in until Friday because I can’t do more than 2-3 days in Vegas.

F4WCon15Friday night featured the banquet dinner as well as a new wrinkle; a Q/A with Dave Meltzer, which was recorded for subscribers. Essentially, ask Dave a question and he will answer it, be it about something current in pro wrestling or MMA, or more favorably for this audience, something old school pro wrestling related. Meltzer was on fire as usual and it was a great idea that played out perfectly.

(I specifically asked a question to A) put over my friend Alex Goff’s toughness as he bit through his tongue during his jiu-jitsu match earlier that day, B) get Bryan Alvarez to speak on the microphone during Dave-time, and C) to change it up from wrestling to a major reason we were there, which was UFC 189.)

The nightcap was a party at the home Ed “In San Antonio” Loredo rented out which meant tons of booze, tons of discussion, and even more Dave Meltzer.

Dave may have met his match on this night though. Corey, who I’d never met before, found Dave at the counter and ripped off question after question in rapid-fire style. He and Dave were toe-to-toe and whoever blinked first was going to lose. Corey may have gone to use the restroom or maybe had a long blink and like a ninja, Dave was gone. The next time I saw Dave, he was on the couch, and after I talked to him for a bit, he was napping. Dave doesn’t sleep. Corey, you tapped out Dave. Well, done my friend.

At some point, a bunch of us left Ed’s place via limo since the taxi service was tardy all night long. Vinny V placed the call and we were off and back to the strip. Greg (aka @crowbro19) and I were both staying at Harrah’s and we cruised the strip for a bit before getting back to our hotel.

Greg and I got on the elevator and there were two young women who were also going up. As I got off my stop on the 7th floor, I faintly heard Greg tell the two women, “Hey, we’re here for a pro wrestling convention.” When I realized that was his line, I looked back and said, “Dude, did you really just say that?” The elevator closed before I got an answer. Cooler than the other side of the pillow my friend.

Saturday

Cadillac Don Cameron scheduled an early lunch for Bryan’s granny who has been a fixture at the convention. I always say yes to things before thinking about how little sleep I may be getting the night before. I didn’t quite get there on time, but time enough to hang with everyone a bit before heading over to UFC 189. My buddy Damian (aka The Dames) and his girlfriend Ines the Selfie Queen were heading over to the MGM early so I tagged along. Erle, an artist from the Brook, came with us. It’s the first time I’d seen Erle at the convention.

Ines the Selfie Queen placed several bets, Erle pretended to be Conor McGregor, and Dames shook Mark Henry’s hand with a pen in his hand. Okay, he didn’t do that. But that’s what he’s famous for. If only Charlie was here this year.

(By the way, this year meant the return of three great men, Justin (jr_horsemen), Jason (sideswipe) and Rodney. They’re all part of the OG crew. Shoutout to Bahana as well who goes way back.)

F4WCon15All I can say is that UFC 189 was great. It’s the best MMA show I’ve ever been to. The early part of the show was fairly boring, but once the main card started, it was insanity. Thanks to Dez for getting the tickets together.

The Irish fans are amazing and I wish they were at every UFC show. Near curtain jerker Neil Seery got a bigger pop coming out than Demetrious Johnson ever has, all because of the Irish fans. Cathal Pendred whose nickname should be “Paint Dry” was treated like a hero. And Conor McGregor was simply their savior.

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald had the type of fight that was fight of the year caliber, but also one that could turn off some of the new viewers who were watching the UFC for the first or second time. It was just brutal. You don’t see that type of violence in any sport. Just look at their faces after the match.

But Conor was the show, the after party, and the hotel (shoutout to Jodeci) all by himself. First off, check out how the crowd reacted live to his entrance. And then watch Buffer’s incredible intros. Conor McGregor was the Las Vegas babyface and Chad Mendes was the bad guy.

And when he finally knocked out Chad Mendes? Holy cow.

After we were ushered out of the MGM, I hooked back up with Alex Goff so we could quickly record a podcast recapping the show and then meet back up with the crew who were at the Monte Carlo. We did just that, except I couldn’t get the file off my Zoom Recorder. While I couldn’t get the show up on Saturday night, I did get it up when I got back home, so you can listen to our live thoughts if you like. And yes, Alex was still in pain from the hole in his tongue.

After hooking back up with the crew at the Monte Carlo, we were quickly at the Bourbon Room, which is where we also spent a large majority of our time last year. While many of the fellas do enjoy the music and dancing part of the Bourbon Room, I mostly just like to chill with the homies and chat. Immediately when we got there, a woman was trying to get us on the dance floor, explaining that it was her friend’s 50th birthday and she was clearly not trying to hit on anyone. And then later, a young lass came off the dance floor singing Madonna’s Like A Virgin, trying to get some of our attention. I no sold it like I was Kevin Nash surrounded by some vanilla midgets. I wasn’t trying to hang with young, drunk girl. I just wanted to hang with the fellas. We later found out that her parents were there with her.

(By the way, Vinny V chastised us for not wanting to hang with the young lass. Sorry Vinny V, I wasn’t into it. Like the great, Jalen Rose says…)

However, I thought someone might want to hang with the young lass and that was the young buck, David. On Friday night, I learned David was from San Jose and that he drove all day to get there. I pulled David over to my left where the young lass was and told him to spit game. He got her name, she grabbed his hand, and they went to the dance floor. I don’t know that David’s close-game was strong, but it had to be better than, “Hey, we’re here for a pro wrestling convention.” We put it out on a tee for him, sideswipe.

Right before we were headed out, I joked with Cadillac Don that he couldn’t get Ed on his shoulders. The night before, he put another one of the young fellas Marco on his shoulders. Of course, Cadillac Don was down for the challenge. We told Ed not to dead-weight him and soon enough, Don had Ed on his shoulders in F5 position. Then, Don took it to the next level. He started doing squats with Ed on his shoulders. As you can imagine, at 4AM and after the night that we all had, this wasn’t going to end well.

And down they went. Thankfully, they went down gently and neither guy was injured. Well, except maybe Cadillac’s pride.

Greg, Cadillac, Darby, and I were all staying at Harrah’s. I specifically chose the hotel since they’re all good dudes and we could share cab rides back if needed. Greg tabbed us as the Four Harrahsmen. Of course, he said he was the Nature Boy. Woooo!

(By the way, Carla Duran asked me about my thoughts on the Four Horsewomen and I stole someone’s line and told her it was Ric Flair and three Paul Romas. That was kind of mean of me. Shayna was good some years ago. I apologize.)

Sunday

Again, I agreed to wake up earlier than I’d wanted, but for good reason. Alex invited me to go to brunch with his wife Rebecca, Carla (Stitch Duran’s daughter), her boyfriend, Oliver Copp, Ben Miller, and Ben’s girlfriend. Oliver couldn’t make it as he had a show to work, but everyone else was there. Carla immediately hit us with a scoop that if it comes to fruition, will be big news for a big show late in the year for the UFC.

Brunch was okay, but the company was fantastic as conversation bounced from the UFC show we just saw to Vegas stuff to wrestling and when Ben got there, to hoops and even baseball. It was an excellent way to spend some time before Alex and I headed off to check out the NBA Summer League.

As a basketball junkie, I was giddy to head over to summer league. I was also happy to have Alex around as I don’t think anyone else would’ve gone with me. We checked out the Bulls and the Raptors. I was surprised to see that Dougie McBuckets was playing alongside first round pick Bobby Portis. Raptors top pick, Delon Wright was playing as well. McBuckets was McDonut-hole for the first half before scoring a few buckets in a row. Portis was working hard, but looked really raw. His post moves for the game were either to turn toward his left shoulder, put his left shoulder into the guy guarding him, and hoist up a jump hook, or turn left and try to shoot a Tim Duncan bank shot. Neither really worked. Wright looked good, though, without the defensive intensity turned all the way up, he looked like he was just too slick for the guys guarding him.

Alex wanted to move over to the bigger gym to check out the other game and we saw the end of the Spurs and Bucks before leaving. I heard someone speaking on my left who sounded like a decision maker of some sort in the NBA. He was talking about Jared Dudley who was just signed by the Wizards. He mentioned being glad that contracts were signed. I finally glanced at his badge and it said Tommy Sheppard who is the senior VP of basketball operations for the Wizards. I eavesdropped on his conversation and it was fun to listen to a basketball mind talk about NBA stuff. I was like a kid in a candy store.

Then my heart was broken. My friend sent me a text about Jennie Garth’s wedding. I guess I just have to wait for her to get divorced again.

We went back to Carla’s house to watch some of the UFC TUF Finale before heading back to our respective hotels. I synced back up with Cadillac Don and we headed out to the last big event of the weekend, which was karaoke at the Brass Lounge. I received some unfortunate news from work that put a damper on the evening, but the crew had a blast. Cadillac Don prepared to sing Glory Days, which is a fun song, but still bothers me because of Bruce’s lyric about throwing a speedball by someone. Who calls a fastball a speedball Bruce? Unless, Bruce was talking about something other than baseball. Matt Prentice and his wife Gina were in town all weekend and his wife was trying to figure out a song to perform. She was thinking possibly something from the Spice Girls and I was hoping for Say You’ll Be There (which is clearly their best song ever), but she eventually chose Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. Her posse must’ve been on broadway.

I have to give it up to Damian though. Earlier in the weekend, he showed me a list of songs that he transcribed on his iPhone Notes app which was about 100 songs long. But he said his go-to was definitely Maria, Maria. And he rocked the mic with it. Later in the evening, I was talking to Alex, Matt as well as Ryan Pike about the WWE or something unimportant and I heard the The Dames’ dulcet tones leaking out.

My mind’s telling me no… but my bod-eeee, my bod-eeee is telling me yeah-yes!!!

My man busted out with a little bit of bump and grind, which he dedicated to Ines the Selfie Queen.

It was so fantastic that I did my best Kenny Smith after Vince Carter shut down the slam dunk contest in 2000. Let’s go home ladies and gentlemen. Let’s go home!

Four HarrahsmenOf course, for the third night in a row, we ended up at the Bourbon Room. I was still in a funk because of the unfortunate news I received from work and even contemplated trying to fly out that evening to go back home, but decided against it and sucked it up. Most of us went back early (or at least earlier than the nights before) because of our flights out Monday, but Darby and Cadillac weren’t ready. They were the last of the Four Harrahsmen and they had to close it out.

All in all, it was yet another fantastic convention and I’m sure most of us will be back next year for UFC 200. And I hope to see many new faces as well.

I wanted to give out more shoutouts to folks I didn’t name above. Shoutouts to Bridget, Dazza (we need to defend our KISS mini-golf titles next year), Jessica, Scott Walton, Jesse, “Big Game” James McDaniel, Peachmachine, Doc G (missed you at karaoke Doc!), Dale, and Dr. Lucha. I’m sure I missed someone.

See you at Mania.

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