I bought Michelle B. brunch at Johnny D’s, in payment for her reviewing the first draft of my second novel and giving me feedback. She teaches at a public high school similar to the one my novel’s set at and I needed her help on verisimilitude. I captured the attitude of school kids very well, she said, but could probably dial back the swearing.
“Kids are very conscious of where The Line is,” she said, “and will dance all the way up to it without stepping over. Unless they want to get kicked out. So in this section here, where Roland says, ‘Suppose you suck my dick, bitch,’ he might say …”
Next: haircut at Franco’s in Inman Square. I come here often enough to be considered a regular now by the staff. First thing Mike did when he sat me down was ask, “How was the wedding?” So I told him about the Liberty Hotel and officiating a wedding behind Storrow Drive and Clink and all the rest. He did my hair up shorter than usual, at my request. I trust the man implicitly.
Even though the weather was pleasant, I stopped off at Inman Oasis for a soak in the big hot tub, saying hi to Miss Cheryl at the front desk. Then I walked all the way from Inman back to Davis, burning off about a third of my brunch calories.
Serpico invited me out to watch UFC 100 at Sports Despot in Allston. We got there minutes before 10:00 just before the bar hit capacity. I like Sports Despot – crowded, sure, but it’s a well-behaved crowd, and there’s more than enough TVs. We squeezed in behind the Pop-a-Shot game and watched the bloody action on a flatscreen thirty inches from our noses.
- Akiyama v. Belcher: My favorite fight of the night. Two technically savvy, aggressive fighters trading blows and working angles. Still, this fight belonged to Akiyama – apparently nicknamed “Sexiyama” in his hometown of Osaka, due to his lucrative singing career – from round 1. Superior grappling and more acrobatic striking.
Match Highlight: Two hundred and fifty men in an Allston bar groaning simultaneously when the clip of Akiyama taking a kick to the groin was replayed.
- Henderson v. Bisping: I haven’t watched “The Ultimate Fighter” in over a year, so I had no idea of the bad blood between these two. So I leaned back to watch a suitable fight for the first round and a half. Then Henderson knocked Bisping out with a punch that got replayed at least six times. Left knee and low left uppercut to draw his block down, and then a right haymaker that slalomed Bisping’s jaw. Henderson followed Bisping down to the mat, dropping an elbow on his face from his full height. Still not sure the man knows where he is.
Match Highlight: Rogan asking Henderson afterward: “Did you know Bisping was out when you tagged him that second time?”
- GSP vs. Thiago Alves: Watching the U.S. Open at work a few months back, one of my colleagues wondered aloud if people watching Roger Federer play realized that they were probably watching the greatest male tennis player of all time – if they were conscious of the man’s place in history. I don’t follow tennis that close, but I feel the same way about Georges St. Pierre. He’s incredibly competent at every aspect of fighting – superior hand strikes, superior kicks, superior grappling, superior submissions, etc. He’s fast and he’s powerful, an optimized fighter.
I hoped for a knockout or a submission, but even Alves knew after Round 5 that he’d lost – he hoisted St Pierre’s hand and retired to his own corner. Consider that GSP continued to dominate the ground game for the last two and a half rounds, even after pulling his groin, and join in my amazement.
Match Highlight: The “twenty-one-year old” in the Metallica shirt who booed until his voice cracked every time St Pierre took Alves down. Which was at least three times a round.
- Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir: I hate Brock Lesnar. That doesn’t make me special, of course; he’s practically built to be hated. The man coasted into UFC from the pro-wrestling circuit, was handed title shots on the strength of his name alone, and has comported himself with bad grace throughout. Tonight’s match was no exception: he refused to touch gloves with Mir in the warmup and downplayed his prior loss to Mir (via submission) in the pre-show interviews.
And yet I have to acknowledge: Brock is good at what he does. He doesn’t possess a lot of technical artistry, but he has size, aggression and a mastery of his limited range. Lesnar took Mir down, slowly turned his ground pin into solid control, then struck Mir until his head bounced off the fence.
Match Highlight: The post-match interview with Rogan. “Keep it coming!” Lesnar yelled to the booing fans. “I’m'a go home, drink a Coors Light. A Coors Light,” he repeated, pointing to the prominent Bud Light logo on the canvas, “because Bud ain’t paying me shit. Hell, I might even get on top’a my wife tonight. Sarah? Where are you, honey?” The thought of that psychotic thug even simulating tenderness scares me.
Postscript: my first run-in with a crazy neighbor in thirteen months of living here. Given that I live in a brick walk-up for shut-ins, I’m amazed it took this long. At about 1:30 on Sunday morning, the guy in the apartment next to me (not Ryan; the other side) slammed something into the ground about forty times. He went on a screaming tirade throughout, indistinct over the slamming, that ended in “fucking upstate New York!” All quiet for another half hour, until he began a slurring rant about several people who might not have been present or listening. “And Joey? Fucking Joey? Fuck you, you fucking asshole! And Johnny? That fucking fag!” Etc. By the time I had resolved the debate on whether to call the cops or get dressed and knock on his door myself, he had stopped.