Matt MaGrath and Marcus Arellio face off after their weigh-in Wednesday in London. The two will meet in the sixth of seven bouts in MMA LIVE 1 at the John Labatt Centre Thursday night. (QMI Agency/Mike Hensen)
LONDON, ONT. - It was typical MMA . . . mucho, mucho, activity.
It was hectic, loud, hot, people where gulping energy drinks when no one really needed any more energy.
The weigh-in Wednesday for MMALIVE 1, the mixed martial arts card Thursday at the John Labatt Centre, had a high level of testosterone, too many people in a too small room, cameras, microphones, entourages, fighters with catchy nicknames, two fighters just missed their weight so had to spend an hour shedding the few ounces they were over and six young women in skimpy outfits. Everything an MMA event requires.
The only thing missing was the blaring music, probably because organizers realized in such a small room it would have caused deafness.
By the way, best nickname on the card belongs to Theo "The Poetic Hitman" Toney. Nick "The Ninja of Love" Denis would have been the best but his bout was cancelled.
Also making an appearance was UFC featherweight Mark Hominick and his teammate Chris Horodecki. Hominick has become a UFC celebrity after his terrific title bout at UFC 129 in Toronto against Jose Aldo. He and Horodecki tried to stay in the background, but couldn't escape the flashbulbs, autograph seekers and swooning women.
Neither is fighting on this card but they will be in the corner of Adrenaline Training Centre gym mate James Haourt when he takes on Windsor's Chuck Mady.
The weigh-in is probably the first step in the intimidation process. The main event combatants welterweights Karo Parisyan and Ryan Ford were first to weigh-in.
Ford looked mean enough to scare the tattoos off some of the other fighters. "The Real Deal. You are The Real Deal," shouted Ford's entourage. "Fight of the night. Fight of the night."
Ford is 14-3. He needs a good showing at this fight to continue his upward climb. At 29, he still has time to make the UFC, but all of his fights have been in Canada. He can't fight in the United States because of "legal issues that will eventually be cleared up."
And it went from there. After the weigh-in the fighters faced-off in a fighting pose, went to pick up their gloves, do interviews, pose for pictures, eat and go through their medicals.
Mady is walking around with bunny years.
"It's because of the nickname," he says.
The Energiza' Bunny is indeed like his namesake. He keeps going and going and going.
Mady took on this fight quickly but he's ready for it since he's been training for another fight in Jordan next week.
"Naw, it's not too much. It doesn't matter at all," Mady said. "He had to cut weight. I didn't. When I was younger I used to do karate tournaments every week, every two weeks.
"As the Energiza' Bunny, it figures I like to stay busy.
"Originally I was supposed to fight on this card and then it got cancelled on me and now I'm back on it,"
Mady said. "Every fight is good. Every fight is good exposure. It's good experience."
Haourt has been itching for a fight, any fight. "I've been waiting to get in there for a long time," he said. "I've been looking for anything. The last couple of fights it didn't happen, I've been training like it was going to happen anyway."
Mady and Haourt was supposed to happen earlier, but the fight was cancelled. "I was hyped for that . . . ," Haourt said. "When I heard, I was going to get a shot at him again, I was happy to hear about it."
Haourt is without a nickname, but he says he's been ever ready for the Energiza. "He's a good stand up," Haourt said. "I can hold my own with him at stand up but on the ground, I think I'm at a different level than he is. Either way, I can hold my own in any area of the fight."
Haourt is the one local fighter on the card. "It's great to be fighting here," he said. "My kids are here. I can go home."
After an MMA weigh-in, going home to rest sounds just fine.
MMA LIVE 1
At the John Labatt Centre Thursday, with the first bout at 7:30 p.m. Two changes were made: A last minute injury forced Kyle Dietz to pull out of his bout against Nick Denis, and the first women's MMA bout in Ontario, between Anna Barone and Julia Budd, is off as Budd was taken on by Strikeforce and organizers didn't have enough time to find a suitable substitute.
Tickets $59.25 to $150.75; at John Labatt Centre or www.johnlabattcentre.com
MMA Roadshow Expo
Thursday, noon to 5:30 p.m., JLC concourse; 30 booths; $20 includes autograph and photo session with Jon (Bones) Jones, UFC light heavyweight champ