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!