WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California on April 24th was an event that will be buzzing in my brain for some time to come. When I received the offer a couple of months ago to spend a few days with the AMP Energy team in Sacramento for the inaugural WEC pay-per-view event, it’s pretty safe to say I didn’t have to think twice before gladly accepting. It’s not everyday you have the chance to spend a few days with the good people at AMP Energy, the official Energy Drink Sponsor of the WEC, let alone witness firsthand a live historical title fight cageside in the hometown of Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber.
From the moment I touched down in California, the AMP Energy team kept the party rolling with three days filled with good times, a great card of fights, and of course, some great tasting energy drinks.
Starting things off, with no time to waste, we hit the pre-fight press conference that included the card’s four main fighters – Ben Henderson, Donald Cerrone, Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber. Witnessing the intensity in the air among all four fighters, fueled by the promotional prowess of Dana White, the press conference left me more than pumped to check out the action on fight night.
While I would have to wait two full days to finally check out all the action at ARCO Arena, the AMP Energy crew kept the party going with tons of activities including a group dinner with Bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez, a MMA training session at Ultimate Fitness gym, as well as the official WEC 48 weigh-ins on the night before the fights.
On Friday afternoon, just prior to heading off to ARCO Arena for the weigh-ins, we paid a quick visit to Ultimate Fitness gym where Urijah was shedding a few last pounds prior to stepping on the scale. While Urijah worked on cutting weight, we were treated to a group MMA tutorial by Faber’s Team Alpha Male teammates Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo and Mark Munoz. Showcasing a series of striking drills, grappling and a bit of ground-and-pound, the trio walked us through what it takes to live the life of a professional mixed martial artist.
After a great technical demonstration from the group, we made our way over to ARCO Arena to catch the weigh-ins. The crowd was pumped up, especially when “The California Kid” took the stage. Suffice to say, Sacramento loves Urijah Faber. Topping things off, we also had a chance to meet up with Urijah immediately following the weigh-ins for a little Q&A. One thing’s for certain, Urijah Faber is one of the coolest individuals in the sport. He even took some time to sign a few autographs for fans while leaving ARCO Arena after the weigh-ins.
Fast forward to fight night, having had the opportunity to experience a few live fights in the past, I can honestly say WEC 48 was one of the most exciting events I’ve been to in a while. With a card stacked full of fighters looking to impress on pay-per-view, there was literally no room for boring fights. Witnessing Leonard Garcia go toe-to-toe with Chan Sung Jung from about 10 feet away was an insane experience. Even crazier was seeing both fighters backstage 5 minutes after the fight being tended to by paramedics and then whisked away to hospital together, after rightfully earning their $65,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses.
When the lights dimmed and “California Love” dropped, ARCO Arena transformed from a MMA event into what seemed like a live concert. Out came Urijah, dressed from head to toe in his FORM Athletics x AMP Energy walkout gear, to the deafening cheers of a jam-packed arena. Not a fan in the building was sitting down, from the opening bell between Faber vs. Aldo, to the last few seconds of the fight.
Despite coming up short in his main event match with the Featherweight champion, Urijah Faber once again showed the heart of a true warrior, battling it out for five rounds, with a very obvious leg injury suffered at the hands of the Brazilian striker’s lethal leg kicks. Perhaps Faber didn’t walk away with the gold wrapped around his waist on April 24th, but he surely left the cage as Sacramento’s champion, the same way he stepped in.
With WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber officially in the books, looking back on the event, it’s safe to say World Extreme Cagefighting truly deserves to see more pay-per-view action in the near future. These smaller guys bring the fight to the cage each and every time. Although there’s been a bit of controversy in the world of mixed martial arts over the past few weeks with post-fight riots and middleweight champions clowning around inside the cage, WEC 48 reminded us all why MMA is the most exciting sport in the world.
Thanks to the team at AMP Energy for making it such a memorable experience.
Mike Pokutylowicz, Founder – FighterXFashion.com
To check out a full gallery of images from WEC 48 weekend, visit our Facebook Fan Page.