It's a Hard Knocks Life

Well, I can certainly check one more item off my bucket list. Shooting any sort of combat sport whether it be boxing or MMA has been very high up on my lists of interests for a few years now. Growing up shooting skating and snowboarding, I felt I was always pretty good when it comes to things that require anticipation and timing. MMA was no different and despite a few hiccups early on in the night, I could easily see myself sitting cage side again shooting. 

So we are up in Calgary for the DeepStacks poker tour event, and I noticed yesterday on twitter that a local poker pro, Terrence Chan, was going to be fighting in a PPV event just 15 minutes down the road. When we are on these stops we always highlight things to do outside of the casino for players to experience while in town for the tournaments. Jeanine reached out to the Hard Knocks Fighting staff and within minutes we had all access media passes. Score! 

First Impression

Walking into the venue I will say I was impressed at the size of the building, as well as the production of the fight. While a part of me was anticipating walking into a high school gym to see a couple guys fight to make rent money, this was nothing of the sort. The undercards had already started so we grabbed our passes and headed towards the octagon. I dropped my bags and quickly nestled my way next to the blue corner and started shooting away like I had any idea what I was doing. After a few adjustments I started to settle in and finally get in the groove.


The Problems Begin

Within minutes of the second fight starting I noticed a guy in a suit heading straight for me and I knew were about to be confronted. Sure enough I explain who I'm with, how we have been approved, and show him my credentials but he tells us to kick rocks and that we are not authorized to be in the area surrounding the octagon. Rather than creating a scene we quietly grab our things and exit the area. I decide to start shooting from outside the media area because why waste the opportunity? So the one fight ends, the guy is a bloody mess walking around the octagon and I set myself up to get ready to shoot the following fight. Sure enough as soon as that fight starts the place blows a fuse and the lights go out. Absurd. Never seen anything like that in my life. The ref separates the two fighters and they head to their respective corners, as the tech guys scramble trying to fix the issue. It appears they succeed but it lasts a mere 30 seconds and the lights go out again. They elect to rule the match a no contest and end the prelim card on a very unfortunate note. The rest of the night would continue with just the house lighting in the area, leaving much to be desired as far as shooting conditions go. 

Warming Up

As an avid fight fan in general, the mental process leading up to a fight has always fascinated me. Those moments in the locker room before the fighter heads into the octagon to put his life on the line always appear so tense. We were fortunate enough to make our way into Terrence's locker room before his fight. It's such an intimate moment seeing a fighter and his team mentally prepare for the war thats about to take place. It was a humbling experience and one I will not soon forget. 

It's Time

We left the locker room about 5 minutes before Terrence was expected to walk to the octagon, trying to prevent any hiccups involving us getting back into the restricted area. Sure enough we were asked to leave again, but after finding the appropriate people to talk to we were granted access. Not the most organized event i've ever attended, but hey I was where I needed to be. As for the fight itself, Terrence unfortunately was TKO'd in the second round when the referee stopped the bout. Immediately after getting back on his feet, Terrence approached his opponent to congratulate him on a great fight as the two embraced at the center of the octagon. While the fight didn't exactly go to plan, Terrence carried the defeat with complete class, as he was extremely humble throughout the entire process. 

A big thank you goes out to both Terrence and the Hard Knocks Fighting team for having us. As for me, it's back to the grind as Day 1B of our main event kicks off in a few hours!