Report from the Toronto MMA Expo with Pics
Heya! Well, it was one busy weekend in the MMA world in Toronto! The MMA Expo ran June 21 and 22, 2008 and was a huge event featuring lots of MMA celebrities, tons of good shopping, a chance to get to know the local clubs, seminars with local MMA and TMA experts and trainers, and a NAGA ranked grappling tournament. I’d say we saw 5 to 6 thousand people go through, probably 300 grappling competitors, and maybe 200 seminar attendees. All in all, a very good event.
Here is the link to the official website.
Here is a Sportsnet report – a quick 2 minute spot, but it really covers the bases on what the event was all about.
Being an exhibitor (shameless plug here), I had to spend two whole days standing around smiling at folks and I have to admit, I was pretty much done with it half way through Saturday and didn’t want to go back on Sunday. But, no choice – had to be there, so I decided to bring my camera on Sunday and entertain myself. What follows is my take on the Toronto MMA Expo in pictures…
I am not enough of a fangirl to want to stand in line for an hour so some man I’ve never met can Sharpie my thong, so I didn’t bother to get my photo taken with any of the fighters. I did take some pics of them doing their thing, though.
Dan Henderson http://i30.tinypic.com/11bri1v.jpg
Matt Serra, who was the only celebrity teaching seminars http://i32.tinypic.com/icmqtk.jpg
Frank Trigg, who was promoting his clothing line http://i29.tinypic.com/33jojd0.jpg
Shonie Carter, dressed like only Shonie can dress (more about Mr. International later) http://i29.tinypic.com/fwoa2q.jpg
I missed getting Sean Sherk and Andre Arlovski, unfortunately.
I am going to break this up into several posts so I don't end up with one gigantic one, so stay tuned. Next up - mostly naked girls!
Liberal Use of Underdressed Women
It wouldn’t be an MMA event without the inevitable eye candy. It is apparently good business to hire promo girls to walk around the trade show with their tushies hanging out of their pants (if you could call those scraps ‘pants’) and get them to hand out flyers for your gym. Bonus points if they are wearing 6 inch high platform stilettos and gravity-defying undergarments. These pics are for you, boys….
There is a right way and a wrong way to wear hot pants. This girl has it right:
Hey – I’m not gay, but even I can appreciate that ass.
This girl is the closest thing I have ever seen to a living anime character.
Look at her eyes – they take up half her face! Her face…look higher….higher….see what I mean?
She was talking to Kru Nick (the guy in the pic) and CdnPaddy and a few others about her workout routine and she says (in high pitched, girly voice) “I only lift a five pound weight!” Paddy says, “Well, you must do a thousand reps, then”, to which she answers “No, just five pounds!” I wish I had a photo of Paddy’s face, as he tried to control his sarcastic response. He actually had to walk away for a minute.
This girl is sponsored by TapouT, and that is a real TapouT logo tattoo on her upper thigh.
She told me that Tapout paid $300 for the tattoo, and she gets all the TapouT clothing she wants. Nice gig, I suppose. She then proceeded to take a grappling seminar with Scott Schilling wearing this exact outfit, studded belt and all. I noticed that she got a lot of personal attention from the instructor, and was never at a loss for a sparring partner…wonder why…
In case anyone is wondering, I was wearing a burqa for the weekend.
Next: Bullshido goes to the expo....
Bullshido at the MMA Expo
As far as I know, CdnPaddy, Pumpkinhead and I were the only Bullies in attendance (at least the only ones to identify themselves). Not to worry though – Bullshido was well represented! CdnPaddy wore his Bullshido SHORTS for both of his teaching sessions, and when he was hanging out with Shonie (more later), so if you were looking at my husband’s ass at all this weekend, you got exposed to Bullshido. Kudos to Pumpkinhead the judo girl for stepping up and trying some striking – I didn’t get any pics of the takedowns portion of their seminar, but she was flinging people left and right. Nice work!
Here are CdnPaddy and Pumpkinhead working out.
CdnPaddy managed to schmooze Pumpkinhead into one of the Matt Serra seminars (it pays to have connections!), and here she is with Pete Sell (Yum!), Dan Henderson, Matt Serra, and some idiot who jumped in to the pic at the last minute:
This is me and Paddy at our booth.
We normally save this stuff for the bedroom, but…
Yeah, we're spicy like that.
Next - my own personal pics of disaster. Hey, I was bored. Yee haw!
MMA Fanboy – UR Doin it Wrong
This post just goes to prove that a bored Bullshidoka with a camera is a dangerous thing.
Hey, we all want to fly the flag for our sport, right! I love fightwear and did some serious shopping this weekend (more on the gear scene later). But there is a point where fandom becomes freakdom, and I certainly saw some examples of that this weekend. Now, I didn’t take any pics of the grapplers who were competing, because I think when you are fighting you should wear whatever gear fits, is comfortable and give you confidence regardless of clashing logos. I also didn’t take photos of the people who were exhibiting – if you are rep-ing Clinchwear, then I expect to see you wearing it from head to toe. No, these photos are the MMA fans, the ones who were there to watch, shop, experience the ‘scene’, and apparently, embarrass themselves.
That is a whole lotta black and white.
Camo head to toe – interesting look. The Canadian Forces recruiters who had a booth pulled it off, this guy – not so sure.
This guy was big-pimpin’. And he had arm candy. Probably drove the giant black Expedition we saw in the parking lot.
As he was actually a fighter, I guess I can’t call him a fanboy – but the pair of them certainly merited a photo.
This fella is a serious fan of the Canadian Beijing Olympic Team, apparently. I wonder if he wandered over from one of the other shows?
I talked with this guy a fair bit and he was very nice, but dude – an extreme couture shirt tucked in to sparkly blue Muay Thai shorts? Yikes.
My favorite – I took many, many pics of this guy. I couldn’t help myself. He walked past our booth several times – it was like watching a car crash on instant replay.
Gelled Mullet? Check. Blue Camo pants? Check. WarriorWear shirt tucked deeply in to aforementioned camo pants? Check. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winnah!
I'll cover the clothing I would actually be seen in next.
Clothing and Gear
The shopping was sweeeet. As for gear, you could get Fairtex, Boes, Windy, and some new MMA glove called ProGrip (looked like illegal knuckle dusters to me, 1/4 inch padding over knuckles, no thumb protection) at various places around the show. I have to give top marks to Boes though – they were unloading really great gear for reasonable prices, so it was a good place to hunt for a deal. One person I was talking to picked up some nice full leather 16oz boxing gloves for $40. No logos or badges on them, but obvious quality.
As for clothing, there were all the usual suspects – Sprawl, TapouT, WarriorWear, Throwdown, but there was also some of the harder to find stuff, and some new brands coming on the market. They are more fun to talk about, so here goes…
Knees and Knuckles is a Canadian outfit that had some fun stuff. I like this shirt, especially the wording on the back:
They don’t make one for girls, but really, it takes on an entirely different meaning if a girl wears it anyways.
I really like the Kimura Wear, especially their women’s stuff. I would totally get the pink camo hat that says “Tough Ass Chicks”, but I don’t wear hats, my ass is rather soft, and well, I don’t do pink camo. I wanted to get this shirt and these shorts for CdnPaddy, but he’s kind of a low-key guy and I didn’t think he’d actually wear them. Still cool, though.
Assassin was there, with some neat stuff. I bought some of these shirts for my kids.
Dilemma: one of my kids is old enough to read and someday, I am going to have to explain what an Assassin is. I figured I’d tell her that it is the Japanese word for “Good Friend” or something like that. Hopefully that will hold her for a while.
MMA Parody Wear was hilarious! These guys have about 5 or 6 good parody shirts, covering Sprawl (Sprawled), TapouT (EatouT), Affliction (Affection, Infection), and UFC (Ultimate Fisting Championship). Their website is under construction, unfortunately, but I did get one pic…
My personal fave was an Extreme Couture shirt that they parodied as Extreme Cougar. Being in the kitty years myself, I can relate. Very funny, but the graphic was too raunchy for public view, IMHO. If they tone it down a bit, they could probably get more business. Anyways, they are really funny, and one I’ll be watching.
Last on the dock - discovering that Shonie Carter is more than just bling!
Mr. International Gets Bored
Poor Shonie Carter spent a long two days smiling for the camera and signing autographs for fans. He was a total gentlemen the whole time (and apparently lit-up the after party on Saturday night), but by late Sunday, he’d had enough and wanted to stretch his legs. He decides to hit the mat and work out a bit right in front of our booth. It was great – he had some folks hold pads for him and he just hit and kicked the pads for a bit. Coach Rob Pelletier (serious striking coach) grabbed some pads and worked with him for about half an hour, all the while, Shonie is chatting at the folks along the side of the mat and pulling funny poses for the cameras (like this one ). I look over at them from the booth and see CdnPaddy taking off his sandals and hitting the mats – apparently, Shonie wanted to show him a particular throw. Pumpkinhead got some video of them (Please Post, Pumpkin!!!), where Shonie is basically manhandling CdnPaddy for a bit and teaching the throw. It was very cool to watch, but it did mean that my husband spent the next several hours smelling like a large sweaty black man.
Turns out Shonie has a black belt in judo that he got in Japan, and loves to teach. Pumpkinhead and CdnPaddy were in heaven – they were talking about obscure throws, belt throws, illegal moves, all sorts of ‘nage’s and ‘waza’s, while the guy from Lanna Muay Thai (who had been holding pads for Shonie) and I were completely lost. What a fun experience though - it was the end of the day, exhibitors were taking their booths down, most everyone was gone and there we were, maybe 5 of us, hanging with Shonie. He could have walked out and gone home hours before like the rest of the celebrities, but he stayed to visit with his fans. He’s such a nice, humble, friendly guy, plus totally knowledgeable about his sport. He definitely earned some more fans this weekend!
So, that was it! Lots of fun, loud music from the Fight Network stage, great shopping, interesting people, expensive sushi, fighters and fans, for two days. Can’t wait for next year!
I'm not sure what's worse, a retarded company that would pay someone to do that, or the person that is retarded enough to get that tattooed in their body in exchange for an infinite amount of retarded clothing.
Originally Posted by AeroChick
Anyways, great review.
One, i love you for the chick post (w/photos)
Two, this looked like a LOT of fun. I will be sure to try to attend the next one!
Awesome writeup. Was gear discounted at all, or just normal price?
Also, what competitions/seminars were going on?
The clothing and gear market was definately competitive. We ended up reducing our prices for the stuff we carry when we got there, just to be on the same level. There were four retial clothing stores there fully stocked, plus some of the direct suppliers had their own booths. Let me tell you, it's tough on a retailer to compete with your own wholesaler at the same show. Anyways, tough for us, good for the consumer.
Originally Posted by rangerdavy
Like I said, Boes was discounting big time. I didn't really notice what the other gear suppliers were doing. If you wanted deals on clothing, you could surf from booth to booth to get the best price. One retailer had bins of Tapout, Clinchwear, Punnishment and all that sitting on the floor - $25 for each, but you had to dig for your size. It was also important to shop early - I missed out on some stuff I wanted because they were out of my size by Saturday afternoon. Next year, I'mma doing my shopping first!
Competition - NAGA ranked grappling tournament, run but Omar Salvosa. Gi on Saturday, No-Go on Sunday. Well run, as far as I could tell.
Seminars - they had 5 seminar mats, all running 1 hour sessions, all day Saturday and Sunday. Regular admission to the show was $15, a day of seminars cost you $95, and the whole weekend ran $150. As for who was theaching and what, it's too much to cover here - you can probably get the list off the website. Also, Matt Serra was teaching all weekend, but that was an extra charge.
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO