Sep 12, 2012

Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England

A Memento Year exhibition: My bed, tickets and posters
Over Christmas I presented an exhibition at the Art Gallery I was sleeping at. I presented all that I could, the artifacts and memories I'd accumulated over the year. Essentially the contents of my Backpack. These spotlights will showcase those mementos and detail the stories behind them.

Find previous spotlights here:
- A Memento Year Exhibition
- Memento Spotlight: Conversation doodles from Firenze, Italy
- Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England

Day 279 - 287: Birmingham + Nottingham, England
One of the best things about being in transit is that you're light on the ground. When you're in motion and not burdened by routine you can act on a whim and decide to go places at the drop of a hat. Its what brought me to Birmingham and Nottingham at such short notice.

Whilst listening to 'Live Audio Wrestling' radio at a London Hostel, I discovered there were wrestling shows held in neighboring cities in the coming weeks. I regularly listened to the podcast despite being on the road, it was one of the few touchstones that connected me to the rhythm of home life. Its a great feeling to hear international news and realise that its actually relevant to you now because the "far away" places mentioned are much closer this time.

The mission was to see UFC 138 and WWE Smackdown in Birmingham then WWE Raw in nearby Nottingham. Being on a travel budget I figured I'd buy the cheapest tickets and just sidle my way closer to the Ring. It was a surprisingly affordable €50 for both WWE events. The UFC tickets were far more expensive but in lieu of going to the show I planned to immerse myself with free peripheral activities, the in-store signings and weigh-ins.

At the weigh-ins I struck a conversation with my neighbor in line. He happened to be a former employee of the arena and knew a few of the guys in security. We had noticed VIP members getting autographs with the Octagon girls by a quiet corner. The guard manning the section offered little resistance, simply asking "Are you a member?" One white lie later and we got our autographs. During the weigh-ins my new friend used his connections to get us to the member's section where we could sit alongside media, the fighters and their entourage. It certainly pays putting yourself in the right position, alert and ready to accept what might come your way. 
Signatures: Rashad Evans, Ross Pearson,
Arianny Celeste and Chandella Powell
As for the UFC show itself, that morning unbeknownst to me UFC President Dana White had tweeted they would be handing out free tickets to the event at a designated location. Seeing dozens of burly tattooed men, clutching their smartphones running towards Birmingham Cathedral piqued my curiosity. I was at the right place at the right time. I scored two free tickets and invited a random from the hostel, we were beside people who paid €160 for their seats. Lucky!

Flat Cap from my Countryside jaunt in a Triumph Spitfire
Anatomy of a Flat Cap. Signatures from 3 different events:
1) UFC Fighter "Suga" Rashad Evans @ an Instore signing in Dudley
2) Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste @ the Weigh-ins in Birmingham
3) Wrestling Legend Mick Foley @ his Meet & Greet post Comedy show in Nottingham

Read more Wrestling posts:
- Road Music: Songs to be happy to (UFC 138)
- Road Music: Songs to be happy to (WWE UK Tour, November 2011)
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts in South America

What nerdy things have you roadtripped for? Have you ever had anything signed?


  1. That is really cool, I always love WWE, I know it's fake but still fun to watch especially The Rock...

  2. Reality is an illusion to me, it's all about fun:) #letsgetrealpod