Ricky Wright's World of MMA: Part One - Cage Warriors
In light of the recent Cage Warriors show I attended this weekend I thought I would start there, but over the next coming months I will share story's from the UFC, OMMAC, Shock and Awe, Cage Warriors, Cage Rage, VOK and more.....Enjoy
Cage Warriors and Me. (Part One)
This Saturday was the first time I've been to a Cage Warriors show since I was lucky enough to MC Cage Warriors 37: Right to fight; it was good to be back. The first time I went to a Cage Warriors show was back in 2004 on their 9th numbered show X-treme X-mas. I was also lucky enough to win tickets to Cage Warriors Strikeforce 4: Night of Champions, which to this day in my opinion remains one of the most important domestic shows to take place on UK soil.
The first time I ever got the chance to work behind the scenes of an MMA show was on Cage Warriors Strikeforce 6 UK Vs Germany. I had written an E-mail to then promoter Dougie Truman mentioning I'd like to promote my own show if I could work on Cage Warriors to gain experience. The e-mail I wrote is here for your viewing pleasure.
I am writing to you to inform you that I am planning on promoting my own MMA show in my home town in South Wales within the next year. Being an MMA promoter yourself i'm sure you understand the amount of hard work, time and effort that goes in to the planning and preparation of running a show. I have researched most aspects of fight promoting, and have also seeked advice from many people within the fight game, many of these people have recommended that I should get first hand work experience to gain a valuable insight in to how a show is ran.
The reason for me writing this letter is to ask if I could be of any assistance to you on any of your upcoming shows, as I have only witnessed MMA shows from the stands as a fan, behind the scenes would open up a whole new world to me. I would like to gain valuable knowledge and experience and hopefully be a part of running another successful Cage Warriors show and as a result turn my own promotion into a success by using my new found knowledge to guide me.
I am not asking to be paid or to be a big integral part of the show, as long as you could put me in a position where you believe that I could see the bigger picture in the running of an event such as Cage Warriors. I am a loyal supporter of Cage Warriors and also a big fan, but if the position you assign upon me means that I will be backstage most of the night and as a result will miss the fights, that's a sacrifice that I am willing to take to ensure that your show will run as smoothly as possible.}
Thank you for reading, yours sincerely
Ricky Wright (MMAlien)
Dougie swiftly replied and I invited me to work alongside Rob Butler and Gary Wallington as part of the backstage running team. I bought my first suit for the occasion as I wanted to look the part. Me and my then girlfriend headed up to Coventry on the train and got a taxi to the hotel. Upon arrival I was met by Ian Dean who showed me to my room. This was one swank hotel which had a Jacuzzi in the room. To say the least I was impressed with the hospitality Cage Warriors had shown me.
I got suited and booted and met Rob and Gary as we headed over to the venue. I felt comfortable around them as they were just big kids who were enjoying their lives, although very professional when it came to running the show. As we arrived at the Sky Dome, a state of ice rink in the heart of Coventry I couldn't contain my excitement.
The first task given to me by Ian Dean was to write down the names of every fighter on A4 paper and tape them it on their allocated changing rooms. A task I proudly excelled at. While doing this Marc Goddard came over and Ian made the introduction. This was in the early days of Marc's reffing career so I only knew him as the pro fighter who I'd seen compete on Cage Rage. I couldn't get over the sheer size of the man.
I got talking to German fighter Jesse Bjorn-Buckler who was hell of a nice guy. The first German I ever met. At the time I was in my late teens so I had this ignorant idea in my head that Germans lived up to their stereotypes. He was 'till this day one of the nicest guys I've met in MMA. And since then I haven't met a German I didn't like.
Deep into our conversation I asked him who his opponent was, "Ross Mason" he replied. I took a massive gulp and wished him luck.
I took my position as the lights fell and the show began. My job was simply to watch the fights and as soon as they finish report to the changing rooms and let the next fighter know they're up next. Once both fighters are ready give the MC (who happened to be six times UFC veteran and UKMMA legend Ian Freeman) the thumbs up, simples. Well you'd think it would be that simple, I've been MC'ing now for the last three years and some of the runners I've had the misfortune of working with have been absolute numpty's.
On Cage Warriors however, me, Rob and Gary ran the show like clockwork.
The time came for my new German buddy Jesse Bjorn-Buckler to make his entrance; he had taken the fight with Ross Mason on late notice and gave up a lot of weight as he usually fights at 155lbs and Mason was a very large 175lbs fighter. I knew that Jesse was going to get his ass kicked, Mason who was too big and too strong for him. Part of me wanted to stop Jesse from getting in but that would have been career suicide in my new field of work as a runner. The fight lasted 2:24 and as I'd predicted, Jesse was on the receiving end of a beating. Luckily he came out of the fight with no serious injuries which was a consolation.
From what I could tell the show was successful and I was happy to play my part. The hard work was over; if you can call it work. It was now time to head back to the party and get on the Strongbow.
The hotel had promised to keep the bar open as long as there were people drinking; I saw this as a challenge. I don't think I bought a drink all night as they were all bought for me by fellow Cage Warriors staff. There was one person at the bar not drinking though. I had heard stories of this man's drinking legacy where after a fight night he would keep the bar open until the sun came out. To my disappointment he stayed sober; I wondered what the reason was. Upon further inspection I found out that he was trying out for the third season of The Ultimate Fighter the following morning and wanted to be at his best.
That man was Michael Bisping.
The party continued throughout the night and some serious drinking went down. I thought I was doing a good job of keeping up until pictures surfaced the next day of me sleeping flat out with an ash tray balancing on my head. It was a great night.
After that, Cage Warriors relocated to Nottingham for the Enter the Rough house series. I went along to corner a friend of mine Lola Bamgbala in a kickboxing match. I had heard on the forum that the Leicester Tigers rugby team were in attendance. They had lost a week earlier in the final of EDF Energy cup to my team, the Ospreys. I wore my Ospreys shirt proudly as I cornered Lola to a victory over a Leicester based fighter. I could feel the eyes of Samoan rugby giant Manu Tuilagi on me as I celebrated, gulp!
Later that night everyone relocated to the hotel as per usual for some post fight drinks. The Joe Calzaghe Vs Bernard Hopkins fight was showing in the bar live from the MGM grand in Las Vegas. There I was sharing a pizza with Jimmy Wallhead when I got a text from a drunken friend who happened to be having a night out in Loughborough which is in the area.
She told me to ring her so I went outside as I couldn't hear over all the noise. She was coming on strong and asking me to come pick her up from the club. I'd only had one drink so I was safe to drive.
I walked along the duck pond in the grounds of the hotel eating the last slice of pizza. I then recalled she had a condition where she would go into anaphylactic shock if she was exposed to dairy. I threw that last slice of pizza at a duck and bought a packet of Airwaves at a petrol station on the way. I picked her up and we went back to her friends place.
We wrapped up and cuddled on the sofa, one thing led to another and we were kissing. She mumbled "My lips are tingling" I replied "Well I am a good kisser". She said "no my lips are tingling, you've been eating cheese haven't you? Get the f*ck off me." She survived.
Stay tuned to AddictedMMA for more of Ricky's magical tales on a regular basis!
Picture of Ricky Wright courtesy of Charli Edwards, Little Red Creative
Published by Steve Wickett - Wed, 25 Jul 2012 20:43