My Bodog Experience

I'm still on a rush after having been to the Bodog fight in St Petersburg. Some observations from a guy who's just been to small, local events before:

  • A Russian event that starts on time – who would have thunk...

  • It was a good crowd, knowledgeable about MMA. They applauded good grappling techniques and didn't mind the fight going to the ground. There wasn't any booing during the slower parts, like Buckner/Akano corner clinching and Thompson/Alvarez guarded stand up. The only time they booed was at the quick stoppage in the Semenov fight (which was a good call by the ref, imo).

  • Lots of "RA-SSI-A" during the Zentsov and Semenov fights, and at Putin's entrance, so I guess I have to stop complaining about the "U-S-A"-chants.

  • 12-13.000 people and I didn't see one shaved head, beanie or tribal...? Are cheap, leather jackets the new thing?

  • It was a good, smooth production. After Mahood/Steinbeiss it was a short brake to time the PPV and then they showed the TV introduction on the big screens. The only waste time was between Thompson/Alvarez and Emelianenko/Lindland, when I guess they showed interviews on the PPV? The announcers were just standing, waiting in the ring while some Bodog girls danced on the stage. Otherwise it just went straight from fight finished – next fighter enters.

  • WTF was the Calvin Ayre presentation about! They showed it on the big screen in the arena as well – I mean, how can you be such an attention whore when you're a successful multi-millionair? It was dead quiet in the arena and I dearly wanted to shout "YOU F-CKIN' WANKER!!!", but it wasn't worth the 1% risk of being thrown out by Russian security.

  • I was disappointed in the fighter entrances. The walk was too short and the music gay, so it wasn't as cool as in Pride or the UFC.

  • I would have paid some good money for t-shirts and posters, but there was nothing for sale. Russians still have a lot to learn about capitalism.

  • I couldn't get any information from Bodog on how to buy live tickets. Wtf... In the end a local guide, 70-year old, 5'3 tall Georgy, bought tickets for me with his own money, with only a text message assurance from me that I would reinburst him. Georgy – you f-ckin' rule!

Off-topic observations:

  • Russians totally suck at English. If you ask them something in English they will totally clam up and turn away. This I say as a Swede, mind you. I'm just really grateful we have subtitles and not dubbed television. It makes a huge difference.

  • Russians look rude, sound rude, but are very polite/helpful. For example, I tried taking the bus to the Marinsky theatre. I showed an old lady "27" on my cell phone (probable bus #) and said "Marinksy?". She goes "Da, da, da!". When the bus arrives she goes "Abretsky babretsky cabretsky Marinsky!" and ushers me on the bus. She explains to the conductor she has yet another deaf-mute foreigner with her. When we arrive at my stop they both go "Marinsky! Marinsky! Marinsky!" and make sure I get off. Neither one of them smiles once.

  • In the subway young, thuggish looking guys will automatically give up their seats to old babushkas.

  • I went to the Zenith/Spartak Moskva football (soccer) game. It was more or less sold out, 23.000 seats, with Zenith supporters in both curves who stood and chanted non-stop 90 minutes. Great atmosphere. In the 75th Zenith was ahead 3-0, so in celebration they started bull rushing down the terraces, shoving each other. Imagine downhill moshing. And that's what they do with people they like... It's gotta be intense when they meet up with rival supporters.

  • I was frisked three times by different uniforms on my way in, but no one looked inside my bag. Yay Russia.

  • It's just sad how MMA can have such a bad rep among politicians, when the only time you have to check your back is during football games.

  • OMON-troops do not appreciate being photographed.


Thanks for the insider info.

No problem. Another cool thing was hearing the whole crowd go "Sasha! Sasha! Sasha!" when Aleksander fought. Apparently Russians love nick names, with Sasha being one of many for Alexander.

great post! Thanks Ziggy

Bump for the Euro-shifters.

wow, nice thread. ttt.

nice post ziggy

Cool story.

"do you have any pictures from the event?"

Not from the event unfortunately. I took some with my cell phone, but they're not worth shit. Georgy called and checked if you could bring a camera into the arena, and it was a clear nyet. I didn't want to get stuck outside the gates with my system camera, so I played it safe and left it at the hotel.

Turns out that lots of people had at least small compacts with them, but what the hell – it was a belt and suspenders trip for me until the Fedor fight.

I asked the same thing about the football game and got the answer: "Kamera no problem. You problem. Be kareful."

I'll put up the Petersburgh pics on the OG when I've had them developed. I haven't upgraded to digital yet...


sounds awesome. Was it difficult for you to get a Visa? I began making enquiries about it once and gave up out of frustration approximately 15 minutes later. They don't seem to encourage tourism in Russia.

I let the travel agency do it all for me. I just gave them my passport and money, and they arranged visa, flight and hotel for me. The embassy needed 4-5 working days to approve a visa and I got heads up on the bodog tickets Wednesday evening the week before, so I was on a pretty tight schedule. I had the approved visa Thursday afternoon and left for Russia Friday morning.

Half the time I talked to the travel agent she was standing in line at the Russian embassy...

ziggy- I know you might not have seen tribals, shave head, and TAPOUT stuff. But what about the chea leather jackets, Russian Mullets, and thight ass jeans

Lol, in abundance... A lot of Russian guys manage to look white trash and nouveau rich at the same time...

The Russian women have sweet features, but they look worse than Paris Hilton on a bad hair day. They have something elf like in their looks – slim faces, high cheekbones and thin noses, but they ruin it by their porno chic style. Like Galadriel's had a make over by an 8-year old ogre (or og:er, take your pick).

Ziggy watch your mouth call Russian women elf looking. I might have to send your ass to Siberia next time.

Ziggy, fantastic report! I love St Petersburg, but man does Russia have a long ways to go.

Few notes...Sasha is short for Aleksander, like Bob to Robert.

Zenit games are scarry. I'm actually surprized that you didn't go through a metal detector and weren't searched better. When I was there I was frisked 4 times and went through a metal detector. For the 23k people in the stadium there were 2500 cops, and this was for a minor game. I can't believe the security wasnt tighter for Spartak.

Do not fuck with OMON. They will beat you before they'll talk to you.

nice story....sounds like russia may be somewhere i add to my "places to go before i die" list....the girls looked smokin' hot too....and as we all know, russian girls have lax morals (and low standards, so there's hope for me)


Well, I went through a metal detector at the Marinsky Ballet...

I was told away fans would be in Section 6, but everyone there seemed to be dressed in blue and cheering when Zenith scored. It's possible Spartak fans were prohibited from buying tickets, thereby relaxing security some.

When the game was finished they closed the nearest metro station, so people fanned out in different directions. Pretty smart tactic to disperse the crowd. Too bad I was in a hurry for the fight.