Yesterday I attended UFC Sweden. The first UFC show ever held in Sweden. Mixed martial arts is pretty much the only sport I watch. I just don’t have much interest in watching other sports. Never have. I’ve never been to a live event before, though.
The whole thing felt a bit surreal. I saw a story in a daily newspaper about Swedish MMA fighter Alexander Gustafsson the day before yesterday and it said “[bla bla] at a sold out Globen”. Globen (Ericsson Globe) is Sweden’s largest indoor arena. It was nice to see some positive coverage of MMA in Swedish news, but it came as a bit of a shock to me because I had completely missed that the UFC was coming here! I don’t know how it happened, but it had completely passed under my radar.
So I looked up the event at a major ticket vendor and saw that it was going to take place this weekend. I did a ticket search and there were a couple of tickets left: a couple of the best seats available in the arena. This was both good and bad. Bad because they were kind of expensive. Good because, well, they were good seats. Apparently the tickets were released in January and sold out in a few hours, so someone must have cancelled their ticket. Pretty lucky now that I think about it .
Yesterday started out like a normal Saturday. I slept in, did some laundry, went to see the UFC… OK, that last part wasn’t normal . It felt a bit weird, since I hadn’t planned it and because I didn’t have to go abroad, like for SMTown and Music Bank in Paris . I kept feeling like I had forgotten something. It couldn’t be right that all I needed was my wallet and the ticket (and pants).
I took the train to Stockholm and the subway out to Globen. The audience demographic was a bit different compared to going to K-Pop concerts. Instead of 80% female, this audience was like 95% male. Most were from Sweden, but there seemed to be quite a few from Norway, Finland, the UK and France too. The European fighters on the card were from Sweden, Norway, the UK, Germany and France.
When I found my seat I couldn’t help but smile. It was one of the best seats in there. Right in front of me was the VIP section. I think you could get a good view from most seats (since it’s a spherical building), but I was really happy with mine.
I was surprised at how well you could see everything going on in the octagon. Not as well as you see on TV of course, but I only had to look up at the screens a few times when there was some grappling where I couldn’t see properly. The lighting was great.
Seeing the fights live was an experience. It’s totally different than watching it on TV. Especially with the crowd reacting to what’s going on in the cage. I don’t usually scream at the TV or stuff like that, but I cheered quite a lot during the fights (and as a result woke up with the voice of a robot today ). All fights were great, except one prelim fight, where the fighters kind of stalemated.
I had imagined that there’d be lots of waiting between the fights, but there was almost no waiting, unless they were finished before the full three rounds.
Apart from the fighters on the card, there were several famous fighters in attendance. They sat in the VIP area right in front of me. Arianny was the ring girl of the night and I must say that she’s pre-tty fit. It was also kind of cool how the fighters who had fought came down to cheer for their team mates during their walk in and also took pictures and talked with fans.
In between the preliminary fights and the live broadcast I went to get something to drink. There were perhaps 20 people in the line in front of me, but somehow the Globen staff didn’t manage to serve them in the 15 minutes I had at my disposal . Amazingly slow. I didn’t want to miss anything, so I went back in before it was my turn.
I thought the arena was loud when the Swedish fighters on the preliminary card fought, but when Alexander Gustafsson came in for the main event, it was several times louder. Wow. There was cheering throughout the entire fight.
My hands hurt from all the clapping. I took the subway from the arena, along with thousands of others . Pretty crowded. I missed the last train home (as I had predicted), so I killed some time until the night bus came. Communications out of Stockholm at night suck. I was home some time after 3 am.
OK, wow. This turned out to be a lot longer than I had planned. I only intended to write like: “Yo, I went to UFC Sweden” . I had a good time.