UFC was back in London on Saturday and PHA-Media were there behind the scenes to capture all the action. We give you a run through of the night and let you in on all the back stage gossip.
The team arrive at the 02 arena to start preparations for the night. As we are taken around the arena and tasked with our jobs we see that the Octagon has been erected centre stage and I spot ex-England Rugby Player James Haskell rehearsing with his camera crew. Stage hands, lighting and sound engineers hurry around us as everyone makes sure everything is ready and in place before the crowds arrive.
I am excited to hear that I have been given one of the most interesting jobs of the evening – looking after the VIPS for the night. I meet up with the UFC team where they brief me on who to expect. Names on the guest list include David Haye, Noel Clarke, 1 Direction and, to my delight, Tom Hardy! I can’t wait to get started!
It’s almost time for the first fight and the arena is now full with excitable and noisy UFC fans. The camera crews are prepped and ready, and the first fighters are waiting in the wings as we all take our places for the night.
The first fight kicks off at 6pm sharp and the crowd are not disappointed with the first bout of the evening. Fly weight Louis Gaudinot forced a tap from his opponent Phil Harris in just 73 seconds. No VIP’s have arrived yet so I float between the arena and the VIP room awaiting my first arrival.
The first arrivals come in the form of Director Noel Clarke and 3 of his friends. They take their seats in the front row as they tell me they are huge UFC fans! They are just in time for the third fight and as the lights go down I see their phones go up ready to capture the action.
I hear over the radio that Tom Hardy’s tickets have been collected and my heart skips a beat – I can’t wait to meet him! In the mean time David Haye and 80’s pop legend MC Hammer have also arrived and taken their seats next to Noel and his friends in the front row where they waste no time in taking selfies.
My radio beeps and it’s my colleague Nick telling me Dizzee Rascal has arrived unannounced looking to grab some last minute tickets. Luckily we have 2 spare tickets in the VIP section and we quickly seat him for the next fight. As the lights go up I hurry over and introduce myself. As he tucks into the biggest burger I have ever seen he tells me his is not worried about going in the VIP room and is just happy he was able to get in so last minute.
Still no sign of Tom Hardy and it seems he had given his tickets to two friends rather than attending himself. A number of players from the Arsenal first team have now arrived. Celebrating their win from that afternoon they have a few drinks in the VIP lounge before entering the arena to take their seats.
It’s not long until the next fight and I hear on the radio that Niall Horan from 1 Direction has arrived with Brian McFadden, from Westlife fame. They take their seats under the cover of darkness but not without being noticed by a few excited mums who scream for their autographs!
With everyone now seated for the headline fight I walk around with the photographer making sure we have some great pictures from the night. As we walk round the front rows I spot MC Hammer chatting with David Haye about the upcoming fight. He tells me that he is a sponsor of one of the fighters and is keen to join the press conference afterwards.
As the headline battle was about to commence in the Octagon, a louder battle had started in the crowd where the Swedish fans competed with the Brits to out chant each other. The contenders enter the arena to huge applause and I look over to see Niall and Brian on their feet ready for the action.
It was an epic battle which ended in the second round when Gustafsson smashes Jimi via TKO. Although the winner was on foreign soil the crowd, acknowledging his talent, celebrated along with him.
We all run back stage to prepare for the press conference where joint owners Dana White and Lorenzo Feritta brief the media and take questions alongside the fighters. As this goes on we gather to reflect on the night which we agree was a great success. Here’s until the next one!
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