The UFC and DC Entertainment, home to DC Comics, have teamed up to create unique, special edition UFC 181 key art. The UFC and DC Comics, the cutting-edge leaders on their respective fields, collaborated on art which captures the larger than life double main event of the December 6 Pay-Per-View event.
A collaboration between DC Entertainment pencil artist Howard Porter, colorist Alex Sinclair and the UFC creative team, the UFC 181 artwork depicts double main event stars Johny Hendricks. Robbie Lawler, Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, in iconic, one-of-a-kind artwork inspired by DC Comics. The artwork will be used in all key creative elements surrounding the Pay-Per-View event, including the official event poster, program and other promotional materials.
Speaking at a press conference to officially announce UFC 181, UFC President Dana White said: “This is a really cool collaboration between two awesome companies. We worked with some of the top guys over there at DC Entertainment and I want to thank them for doing an awesome job.”
When DC Comics ask their talented pool of artists who’d like to work on the project, they got a lot of enthusiastic responses. But fan favorite and comic veteran Howard Porter made it be known that he was the man who wanted the UFC gig the most.
Porter has worked on the biggest comic books, the kind of super-heroes that even non-comic fans know the secret identities of. He’s drawn the adventures of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman and is currently the lead artist on Justice League 3000, a critically acclaimed comic based on the adventures of imperfect clones of the famous team set in the year 3000AD.
Alex Sinclair, another stalwart of DC Comics who has worked on Batman: Hush, Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin, added the beautiful coloring to the UFC 181 art.
Drawing every panel for Justice League 3000 keeps the Connecticut based Porter busy but, as he tells it, the chance to work with the UFC was not slipping him by.
> Check Out a Larger Version of the UFC 181 Poster!
“They asked me if I had the time to do this, and of course I didn’t, but I was never going to turn down the chance to work on a UFC project,” said Porter. “I didn’t care if I had to work 20 hour days for a month, there was no way I was going to tell them I was too busy to work on this. This is literally one of the biggest thrills of my career. I just watched the stream of the press conference on UFC.com, and it was amazing seeing the fights and Dana stood next to my work.”
A UFC fan since the 1990s, Porter admitted his inner fan boy initially got the better of him when he started on the project.
He said: “I did way too many sketches at first. I must have sketches each fighter 12, 15 times. I was having way too much fun drawing these guys; I drew them kicking, punching, going for takedowns. I was having so much fun but then I had to get a hold of myself and decide which (poses) to draw each guy in.”
That decision making process was easy for reigning UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis though.
Porter said: “With Pettis, he’s very flashy and he might be the closest thing to a real meta-human there is outside of comics. Everyone remembers the “Showtime” kick back in the WEC fight vs Ben Henderson, but he’s always hitting flying knees, flying knees off the cages, things like that. But it was way too hard to resist drawing Pettis flying through air executing a Showtime kick. I tried to show the showman side of him in his facial expressions as well.
“With Gil Melendez, he’s all business. He’s here to kick ass and go home. I tried to capture that when I drew him. He’s all business, nothing personal, but he’s coming at you.
“With Hendricks and Ruthless Robbie, I took a similar approach to each guy. They both are wreckers, the kind of guys who can bring down buildings with one punch. You can see Hendricks using that name “Bigg Rigg” as his codename. He’s just so powerful, rolls over people, a real big hitter that the Justice League would call in what they need someone to take care of business. But, outside of fighting, he’s the nicest guy. He’d make for a great character in the DC universe.
“And with Robbie, just his whole story of coming back (from career struggles) to where he is now. Some people thought he won the title (in the last Hendricks fight) and what was so crazy is he was getting hit by Bigg Rigg and laughing. He has fun in the Octagon. He’s like Lobo (a anti-hero DC character who loves a tear-up) - fighting is fun for him.”
As you can tell, Porter really knows his MMA. He is psyched about tomorrow’s UFC 178 card, and is particularly excited about Connor McGregor stepping up face a top 5 opponent in Dustin Poirier.
He said: “What Conor has been able to do in three fights is very impressive. It’s a big step up and I’m excited for that fight and the entire card tomorrow night. There’s seven or eight fights which are “can’t miss” tomorrow and I’ll be watching.”