Hardcore UFC fans don’t want to miss any action, ever. They want to see any and all of the fights on every card. You’ll find them in their seats at the opening bell of the first bout. They know any tilt has the potential to deliver show-stopping results.
Among those fans, you can count Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
“I love the knowns, I love the unknows. You never know, sometimes the most fascinating fights happen before anybody is watching. And is also your chance to familiarize yourself with these people,” he confirmed during an interview with UFC.com.
Kiedis became a hardcore fan little by little, and today his presence in the front row is common. It’s not an exaggeration to say he understands the whole UFC essence.
“MMA is always global, that’s another interesting aspect. You have the Brazilians, you have the Russians, you have the Australians… so early in the night you can find out where are they from, how they grew up, what their art form is.”
And like many others, he has found some of his favorites are now stars on the rise: “From Zabit, to Yair, to Brian Ortega… the first time you see these guys fight, and they have a skill set that is so refined, and so developed. You go from not hearing about these people to those are the fights I wanna see now.”
“One guy that got my attention: Johnny Walker, did you see Johnny Walker’s last fight? Who wants to fight Johnny Walker? Nobody! That was sick what he pulled out.” Kiedis mentions about the impressive Brazilian light weigh with a current eight-victory streak and looking for his third UFC win this Saturday at UFC 235, an event where Kiedis is intrigued by the main event.
“Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith. Even though Smith hasn’t accomplished on the Jones level, I think that’s a fun, fun fight: giving the underdog a chance against one of the greatest of all time.”
Kiedis keeps his calendar updated when it comes to UFC fight nights, and as any other fan, enjoys talking about possible wars ahead of us.
“If Conor ends up fighting Donald Cerrone, that’s a great fight. In my opinion Conor is not at the level he used to be. His lifestyle took precedent over his dedication to being the best in the world. Donald Cerrone--especially at 155--is the boss, the veteran. I feel like it’s a competitive fight. Cowboy has earned the right for that sort of financial reward, and stylistically it’s an entertaining fight for the fans.”
Finally, Kiedis shows some of his analyst skills, and one has to wonder if he could seat next to Jon Anik and Dominick Cruz one day, throwing out some opinions: “(Against Khabib) I saw an athlete whose priorities in life have changed drastically. I saw a guy who used to move like a wild animal in the Octagon, to a guy who really had no flow. Conor’s movements used to be his bread and butter, his unpredictability with angles, his fluidity with distance between himself and the other fighter. It just wasn’t there.”
His knowledge of the sport comes from years of watching and studying it.
“I got a call for the first UFC in the early nineties from a friend of mine saying ‘you got to come to my house and watch this, no rules fighting. It was super entertaining, but I didn’t understand the true nature of MMA, it was just an interesting idea, different styles of martial arts competing against each other. But it hadn’t become mixed yet. But I paid attention for the next decade and when the Ferttita brothers bought the league, I started paying a little closer attention. I was not a student of the sport. It wasn’t until the Chuck Liddell era that I started to really get into it. Then I start realizing the chess-game aspect of what MMA was growing into, the evolution. And I thought ‘This is fascinating, ‘cause you have to be ready for anything.’ And that’s when I fall in love, it’s a combination of technicality but it was also the personality. The more I knew about the people, the more interested I was.”
Many MMA and UFC fans could identify with that love story, no doubt. Even today, it serves as a reminder of the growth and expansion of the sport; a reminder from a true fan.