As hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Las Vegas to celebrate New Year's Eve on Monday, fight fans know the real fireworks started Saturday at UFC 155. Here are the bold names who started their holiday weekend watching the action inside MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- between gigs at the Zuffa holiday party at Red Rock and New Year's Eve at the Cosmopolitan -- sat cageside. Musician Carrie Underwood attended with her husband Mike Fisher, a center for hockey's Nashville Predators.
Mike Tyson (left) enjoyed the fights from the front row and had a friendly chat with UFC president Dana White. NBA legend Charles Barkley joined the crowd, while Newly-signed Boston Red Sox centerfielder Shane Victorino attended in the company of his wife Melissa, a former UFC employee.
Stars of the Small Screen
UFC 156 bantamweight Urijah Faber enjoyed a plum seat and plenty of laughs between actresses Jaime Pressly (right) and Laura Prepon. MTV's Christopher “Big Black” Boykin, whose fandom had made him an event staple, was also in attendance. Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain watched with his wife Ottavia, a BJJ blue belt under Renzo Gracie.
UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell posed with dozens of fans during breaks in the card, while former heavyweight champion Frank Mir, Strikeforce welterweight king Nate Marquardt, and former Strikeforce champion Cung Le all drew big cheers.
Main Event Men
Minotauro "Big Nog" Nogueira, mentor to
headliner Junior dos Santos, moved in from the locker room to watch the main event in the arena.
Strikeforce champions Luke Rockhold and Gilbert Melendez were on their
feet for the entire five-round main event, rooting for Rockhold’s
training partner Cain Velasquez. Current Strikeforce champion Daniel
Cormier also cornered the newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champ.
Plenty of fighters with bouts booked in the coming weeks took a training-camp break to spend New Year's at UFC 155: UFC on FX 7's Michael Bisping; UFC on FOX 6's Glover Teixeira and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone; UFC 156's Ian McCall, Jon Fitch and Francisco Rivera; UFC on FUEL TV 7's Michael McDonald and Matthew Riddle; and UFC 157's Lyoto Machida and Liz Carmouche.
Roy Nelson, George Sotiropoulos, Vinny Magalhaes, Martin Kampmann, Reuben Duran, Mike Pyle and Yves Edwards were among the UFC stars in the crowd. Familiar fighter faces also surfaced in the corners of UFC 155's athletes: TUF Live finalist Al Iaquinta with Costa Philippou, former WEC champion Mike Brown with Brad Pickett, TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao with Erik Perez and Jeremy Stephens with Myles Jury.