UFC 216 – Ultimate Media Day on-site report

A somber feeling has quickly blanketed the Las Vegas valley this week following the tragic event which took place in the Route 91 Harvest Festival at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. That brisk Sunday night, close to 60 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. Sin City residents are moving at a different pace and a gloomy yet, unspoken trust is growing within the people visiting here or those that call Vegas home.
The moment does have a silver lining within it as folks of all walks of lives have steadily come together to help each other out and provide moral as well as physical and emotional support.

We spoke to some of the fighters from the main card of UFC 216 today for the Ultimate Media Day inside the T-Mobile Arena. The Octagon warriors proudly and promptly arrived to talk to media and showed their support to the place known as “Sin City”.

Kevin “The MoTown Phenom” Lee (16-2)

Photo by Armando Romo

UFC lightweight Interim title contender, Kevin Lee let us know that, “this is my second home but, it’s still my home regardless”. He is originally from Michigan. He followed up with a solid proposal stating, “Should I carry Las Vegas on my back? (Explicit). We should all carry Vegas”.
When talking about being the lightweight championship title bout headliner of UFC 216 the Michigan native simply reminded us, “we’re going to go to war. I hope he stays in there for 5 rounds”.

To those unfamiliar to the reason for their current beef, “The MoTown Phenom” gave us a simple and direct reason; “I always showed Tony respect. We’re alumni from the same college but when he started downplaying me, showing me disrespect”, this is what Lee points to as far as their animosity really taking off in interviews and social media.

Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1)

Photo by Armando Romo

Former UFC Heavyweight champion and UFC Interim Heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum told media, “What took place was very saddening, I felt very sad but, we must keep moving forward”. The Brazilian ground specialist briefly mentioned being in his hotel room at The Mirage hotel and casino when everything happened down the road at the Festival; trying to stay calm and indoors with the rest of his fight team.

The Brazilian standout is aware of his foe, Derrick Lewis’ (18-5), punching power and will “keep his hands up…and stay focused on the fight” however, he has not lost sight of becoming a title holder in the UFC. Immediately reminding us that he once was the division’s reigning champion.

Tony “El Cu Cuy” Ferguson (23-3)

Photo by Armando Romo

Ferguson was visibly he most emotional out of all the fighters present today. Nonetheless, you have to catch his subtle intensity going into Saturday telling us that regarding the shooting in Las Vegas, “I don’t think it’s a distraction- it’s a tragedy. He was active as only he could and admired the city’s healing power, “People coming together said more than the act itself… I was hanging outside the hotel room window and telling people I love you man-shoeing support. I got some crazy responses.” Ferguson followed up later with, “There is so much more in the world that’s going on. I don’t even want to be here doing this media, I want to be there helping everybody.”

Still, all business after showing emotion and heart for those in need, The Ultimate Fighter season 13 winner switched gears educating us on his outlook that the UFC is hurting for superstars in the organization and megastars in the division, “I’ that man, they need someone to fill that void”.

And as far as Kevin Lee being a worthy opponent, “I didn’t talk my way here, I worked my way here, this kid TALKED his way here.”

The fighters are professionals and have no choice but to march forward into the trenches this Saturday from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the UFC 216 event. However, it’s very good to know that they are conscious and well aware of the fight that the city of Vegas is currently in; one to pull itself back together and move on with its head held high as best as it can as its heart heals and tears dry.

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