CagedInsider made the roughly 3 1/2 hour drive – out to “Sin City” from our roots in southern California, to be part of the UFC free autograph session and weigh-in held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The autograph session featured GSP, Rich Franklin, Roy Nelson, Antonio Nogueira, Joe Stevenson, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar.
The lines were long as hell and I was dealing with a slight hangover from the New Years celebrating the night prior, but the torment of the super long lines and my pounding headache was well worth it. We were in line for already 4 hours and still from where we were standing at that point could not see the fighters. I decided I was going to leave the line to get some water – so I left Joe, and Savannah – and headed towards the exit sign when I noticed another line at a counter selling MMA clothing and such. Behind the counter was Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, and they were signing for fans, and taking pictures.
Now we never knew that those two were going to be at the event, as they were never part of any of the advertisements we saw. I was super excited and forgot all about my need for hydration. Surprisingly the line was only like 20 people long, compared to the sea of hundreds of people in the line for the other fighters I had just left. I think that may be due to the fact no one else knew they were going to be there either. I jump in line of course and in maybe 10 minutes I’m shaking hands with Griffin and Bonnar – and these two are the absolute nicest celebrity type people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Forrest Griffin is hulking huge in person! The two were joking with everyone in line, and were having a great time interacting with the fans.
While I was talking with, and getting my own piece of MMA memorabilia signed by the two, I feel a pat on my shoulder and I turn around and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson is at my back trying to get by me to get behind the counter with the other two – again did not know he was supposed to be there either, so I stumbled on to a great thing here on my way to try and get some water. I never did get that water till much later.
The fan turn out was huge! if you were able to hold out and deal with the long time of standing in line – it was well worth the wait to meet these fighters. Joe and Savannah got to meet GSP, Rich Franklin, Nogera, and Roy Nelson. I however, didn’t get to see those guys but I don’t mind at all, I would have still walked out of that line to go meet – Joe Stevenson, and the two guys responsible for the one fight still considered the best MMA fight of all time, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin.