Simmons: 'My head is still spinning'

Steve Simmons, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:58 AM ET

In one of my all-time favourite movies, Diner, there is a line I quote often and regularly relate to: "Do you ever get the feeling that there's something going on that we don't know about?"

For years, that's how I've felt about the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

People kept telling me it was the next big thing.

People kept saying you had to get on board.

People kept insisting you had to experience it live, to fully comprehend it.

I was thinking about that line from Diner Saturday night as I sat through the blaring noise, the carnage, the brilliance, the violence, the sell, the spectacle and the constant buzz that was UFC Saturday night at a refurbished and wonderfully decorated Rogers Centre.

And the early verdict: It starts with where do I begin and ends somewhere around wow.

My head is still spinning.

My words are trying to capture everything I witnessed.

My mind is racing.

My ears are ringing from the relentless sound.

And my laptop I'm working on is actually vibrating from the electricity at the normally quiet and respectful Rogers Centre.

All that came before Georges St. Pierre decided to put on a technical clinic in his main event against Jake Shields for the world welterweight title, an uninspiring but sound performance on a night of inspiring; If this was boxing, back when boxing really mattered, the huge crowd would have gone home happy with the St. Pierre win, disappointed in the lack of action in the match.

"I'm sorry," said St. Pierre afterwards.

And he was.

As it turned out, St. Pierre was the star who led to all the tickets being sold, the technician who fought with dull precision against Shields.

He didn't have to be the show. The show, for the sold-out Rogers Centre, came long before the most marketable athlete in the still-growing sport, managed what he does best: He won.

He won every round again.

And nobody will go home talking about it.

There was too much else to see. Too much else to file away in the memory bank.

Say this much for the Ultimate Fighting people.

They know how to put on a show. They know to make an event, an event.

They may be over the top and in your face but the show Saturday night had moments I've never seen before, will never forget, may never witness again.

The sport is at times brilliant, at times vicious, at times troubling.

But from beginning to end, my first foray into UFC live, at the biggest show in its history, had all kinds of substance, moments both unforgettable and difficult through more than five hours and 12 bouts of a card and at least seven spectacular endings.

There is nothing like this anywhere else in sports and maybe that's a good thing.

You can debate the civility of all this. You can be troubled by the gladiator-like aspects of some of this game.

But in between the boxing, the kicking, the Vince McMahon style of presentation -- done at a higher level of sophistication than any of the four Wrestlemanias I've attended, without the rehearsal of scripted endings -- there are athletic vignettes that are breathtaking.

Where to begin from last night?

There was a match that ended with something called the spinning backfist, which was part gymnastics, part boxing, part amazing.

There was a match that ended with a spectacular elbow to the face that knocked a fighter out.

There was a match that ended in a choke -- the first real choke at Rogers Centre since the 1991 Blue Jays.

There was the end of Randy Couture's career at the age of 47 -- when he got a little sweet chin music treatment and was knocked out and field-goal kick that would not have been wide.

There was a the most memorable match of the night -- a featherweight title bout between Mark Hominick of London and Jose Aldo of Brazil. Hominick was bloodied and beaten and with a welt on his head the size of Chicago.

He still kept fighting.

The doctor somehow allowed it. And he spent the final round, pounding on Aldo for three straight minutes without a punch back.

For that, he lost a decision and one judge clearly missed that last round.

Did I love it all?

Probably not.

Would I go again? Maybe.

I have been fortunate enough to have the best seats in the house for many of the largest sporting and entertainment events in the world over the past three decades -- Olympics, Super Bowls, championship fights, Wrestlemanias -- and as spectacles go, this ranks among the most impressive, most put together.

The sport itself, like most things, that comes down to personal taste.

I wonder: If you take away the props, especially the large screen, could an event like this flourish, would the atmosphere change dramatically?

The answer is yes but the answer is moot. The big screen was as much a part of the show as St. Pierre was last night, maybe more, only the big screen lived up to all advance hype.

In the end, the world's most efficient fighter did not.

But it wouldn't dull anyone's experience.

If you ask the 55,000 in attendance if they would do this again, the answer would be a resounding yes.


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