I love sitting cageside for events, as there’s nothing quite like being so close to the action that you get splattered with blood, but it is a unique experience to be backstage with the fighters.
Prior to the fighters getting their names called and having to make that walk into the arena, there’s a kind of nervous energy that pervades. It just as often has zero affect on the fighters themselves as it does make them anxious, and yet almost universally it turns coaches and cornermen into basket cases.
Then there are the fights on the monitor, the scenes of battle that loom, and how crazy it is to share a locker room with another fighter, watch that fighter depart whole and return a defeated (or victorious) mess, and feel the energy of the place shift to one of impending doom.
Below is the YouTube feed that was recorded of Conor McGregor’s locker room at UFC 189. Fast-forward to about two hours in to see McGregor.
Though there’s no sound, the video has it all: the fighter warming-up, pacing, the rest of his team in a holding pattern, and when they’re gone and McGregor’s war in the Octagon is being watched on a monitor, those left behind are glued to the screens.
If you’ve never seen a glimpse of what it’s like backstage, watch this vid.