UFC 33 Victory in Vegas
Standing Room Only Weigh-in and Autograph Signing
By Aaron Crecy
LAS VEGAS–The Ultimate Fighting Championship was on public display in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon as the fighters took part in the official pre-fight weigh-in. While all the fighters successfully made weight, light heavyweight challenger Vladimir Matyushenko seemed to have a difficult time and did not answer the first call. However, the Belarus native eventually appeared and weighed in at 2051/4 pounds, as the Nevada Athletic Commission gave all fighters a one pound allowance. In the other light heavyweight fight, Chuck Liddell weighed in at 203 pounds while Brazilian Murilo Bustamante weighed a scant 199 pounds.
- The UFC opened the weigh-in to the public, promoting the event on local radio stations for the past week. As a result, the room was filled to capacity as excited onlookers watched the weigh-in and subsequent pose-offs. Most fighters posed for pictures with fans, just another example of the accessible and accommodating nature of the athletes in mixed martial arts.
- UFC spokesperson Carmen Electra and model Victoria Silvstedt were also on hand to sign autographs, along with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, heavyweight contender Pedro Rizzo and welterweight champion Carlos Newton. The UFC provided free head shots of the fighters and posters from the new UFC ad campaign. Tito Ortiz and Fabiano Iha passed out trading cards while Elvis Sinosic handed out stickers.
- After the weigh in, all the fighters and one cornerman from each camp met for the official rules meeting.
- Chuck Liddell has been walking around with an excited gleam in his eye. When a fellow fighter warned him that Bustamante might try to open the fight by trading strikes, Liddell gave a sly smile and said he hoped that would be the case. Meanwhile, Bustamante appears relaxed and quietly confident. When asked if he was inspired by the recent successes of his countrymen, he replied that while it made him happy, it had no impact because he was already confident.
- There is a Ms. Hawaiian Tropic beauty contest taking place at the Mandalay Bay this week, meaning that the hotel and accompanying pool is teeming with young, shapely beautiful women from all corners of the United States. A pleasant distraction from the serious business at hand, to say the least.