Jordan Hamilton was on location in Birmingham, England for MMANews.com on Tuesday when THQ hosted a gamers day media conference that featured a fighter tournament between many of the UK Fighters from this season of TUF as well as Mike Bisping and Paul Taylor.
The following is Jordans break down of the day. Watch for a video from the conference later this week.
UFC Community Event – UFC Undisputed 2009
So it's 1am on a Monday night and I've just got in, first thing I do having not been in all day is check my e-mails. See a message from Chris Howie about the UFC and it turns out I have to be up and leaving my house at 9am Tuesday morning for a UFC event. Oh yes now I'm really regretting staying out that extra hour.
So the boring introduction over, honestly I just can't write them very well at all so well done if you are still reading, now it's time to get in to the actual event. First things first let me just say it is definitely something I would recommend. I arrived at just gone 11am as the traffic I was expecting never turned up so I was hanging around for a fair while especially as the event ended up starting late.
The gym where it was held, Paul Taylor's gym the UTC, is situated in the town centre of Erdington and is very nice, one of the few world class training facilities for MMA in the UK I would say. As I was waiting around I noticed a few of the youngsters who were part of the gym playing one of the copies of the game so I walked over to see how they were doing before finding my own machine and having a go against the computer, I lost, quickly. The only fighters available were those seen in previous demo's Mir and Big Nogs at heavyweight, Evans, Franklin, Hendo, Rampage and Forrest at Light Heavy and GSP and BJ Penn at lightweight. No other characters available for us to play with.
Still waiting to get my pass I walk over to one of the THQ guys who were very friendly and helpful throughout surprisingly, I expected them to be more stressed out and slightly less co-operative to be honest. He explains that they don't have my pass yet but it will be here by 12. I turn around to see Dean Amasinger and I believe Jeff Lawson although not positive skipping round the ring for reasons probably only best know to them and the other UK fighters.
As no one else is really around and Bisping is sitting on his own briefly I sit down next to him and ask a couple questions about the new show, it's surprising how much different it feels just sitting next to someone you want to be and trying to remember what you had written down. He's very down to earth, says he definitely isn't another Ken Shamrock but admits that like anyone he has his bad points as well as his good. He felt more stressful being the coach for the show than he did when he was on it himself. I also spoke to him about his gym and got a contact number to go and train there, I wonder if I'll be able to walk out after one of their sessions?
Six of the team UK members were present and as the day wore on it became apparent they all got along at least fairly well so hopefully that says good things about the show as well. At the beginning they were all standing around by four of the machines between the ring and the cage and practising for the tournament to come later. Nick Osipczak (I got him to spell it out just to make sure I got it right and to settle a discussion me and Howie had the night before) however was sitting down so I grabbed a quick informal interview with him.
Nick has a degree in Maths and Finance from Loughborough university which is a very good sports university in England. He took up Kung Fu there and that led to him going in to MMA. He's also going to be training at Rough House in Nottingham with Paul Daley, Dan Hardy, “Judo” Jim Wallhead and obviously cast members Dean Amasinger and Andre Winner now that the show has concluded. He also told me about the audition process he had to go through and how he found out on New Years Eve he was going to be on the show and how bad Christmas is when you have to train all through it and no one else wants to. One thing I noticed from speaking to Nick and Ross Pearson and hearing Dean talk was that the UK contestants claimed to find the house easier than they anticipated, whether this was due to a country vs. country thing or just a good group of people, I don't know. Dean Amasinger also said that in terms of pranks this is the tamest season so far. On another note Nick was easy to speak to and the confidence he showed on the show was still evident but he made a much better impression than I expected. He also said that he wasn't playing the game because it was frustrating that he wasn't very good at it, more to come about that one later.
Ross Pearson turned out to be a Sunderland fan so I now must cheer for his opponent in future fights being a Newcastle fan myself. All jokes aside a very cool person really seemed to enjoy fighting. Said he missed being on the show because of the good training that you got and that effectively it was all you could do.
Whilst I was talking to the two guys two other things were going on which were mildly amusing, Dean Amasinger who was the one in the middle of anything happening yesterday decided to see if he could hit anyone with the floor to ceiling ball that was near the game machines. After a couple of near misses Andre Winner walked over and the conversation shifted to the fact he'd bought matching shoes to go with his Team UK outfit. After this the event organiser came in so I went off to get my pass and left the fighters playing the game.
See now I've done all this writing about the introduction to the day and there's not much I say for the rest of it. I know it seems bad but I spent most of the time trying to get some video footage or we were all waiting around for something to happen.
Now when it all got started they had a photo shoot with all the Team UK guys and there was an introduction from one of the guys at THQ introducing them and also Mike Bisping and Paul Taylor. They then started things off with a BJJ demonstration which I believe Nick and Andre did with Bisping talking everyone through it.
From there we moved in to the ring where the game tournament was beginning. The fighters had a slightly more advanced version of the game than we had been allowed to play. Bisping was playing himself and his opponent was Henderson. There was also a Frank Mir vs Brock Lesnar match whereas Lesnar wasn't available in the demo versions. Later on in the day I also saw someone playing as Anderson Silva and Wilson Gouveia both of whom also weren't available in the demo. Interesting note no one who played as Anderson Silva won.
The tournament consisted of the 6 Team UK fighters, Paul Taylor and Mike Bisping. Bisping and Taylor faced each other. Nick Osipczak and Andre Winner faced each other and I can't remember how the other two paired up. Nick won in the quickest time with Rashad Evans against Forrest Griffin I believe, it's on the video check it out, Bisping ended up knocking out Henderson with a head kick, lots of mention of doing that in the actual fight after that one. In the second round Bisping was again himself and again won against Henderson to “prove” that Henderson couldn't beat him, Nick also won again with Rashad.
The final between Nick and Bisping was done out of the ring on the big screen tv in front of it. Everyone gathered round, Bisping played himself and Nick was Rashad. It was back and forth for the first round with Bisping getting knocked down once but landing more offence. There was a lot of cheering from the crowd during the match and Amasinger 'pants'd' Nick as well at the beginning. Nick finally won with a knockout head kick in the second round. For winning he got an Xbox 360 Elite and a copy of the game. All other participants got a normal Xbox 360. All the other fighters carried on playing the game after this, Nick only played once more beating Bisping again and getting pants'd again as well.
After this it was lunch/interview time. I got a few more goes on the game and spoke with some of the THQ staff to get some hints and tips about it. Also played the guy from Euro Gamer he beat me both times wasn't good. Lunch was nice and healthy with fruit smoothies and salads along with sandwiches. Having little preparation time I didn't have anything planned for interviews so I just spoke to the guys from THQ briefly and found at the main info for the game. They said the create a fighter mode is just like any mode so hopefully it is at least half decent as I'm sure everyone wants to create Fedor. He said you'd have a career mode to build the fighter up with. The rating system changed between the demo we got and the one that was played during the tournament as well. Funny note one of the games had a health bar for fighters the guy from THQ who I was talking to and plays the game in his office had never seen it before.
One thing that was definitely true about the game is that it is not a button basher and winning on it will be fairly easy once you get used to it against the computer but player vs player then the person who has practised will almost always win. Skill over button bashing is a good thing though.
After that I unfortunately had to go and missed the round table interview. I thanked the guys at THQ who were very hospitable and the workers at UTC who were also. It was overall a very enjoyable day it was just unfortunate I missed the final interviews which would have also been nice. Still definitely worth going to and as for the game I highly recommend it.