Brian Ebersole (right) is happy to be home. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
Decorated welterweight Brian Ebersole (www.brianebersole.com) will blog his experiences leading up to his UFC 133 clash with Dennis Hallman for Sherdog.com readers.
An interesting few days it has been here in Illinois.
I'd chosen my flights into UFC 133 from Australia about 6 weeks ago; the Strikeforce event being in Chicago made it an easy choice to make a stopover in my home state. The Fedor-Henderson fight had been announced, and it struck me as one of the more special fights of this era. I likened it to Ali-Frazier, with two legends of veteran status, and that's to say nothing of the fighting styles that the two bring to the cage.
For me, it was one I couldn't miss given the opportunity to attend. The bonus was that I could bring my friend and coach, Ed Bavelock, to the event. That, and being able to spend two days in my hometown!
Now, that was the upside of the trip. Like my last blog entry in which I discussed the upside and downside of having a fight scheduled three months ahead of time, the downside of heading into Chicago was my suffering the sights and smells of the local fare.
Ribs, ribeyes, loaded baked potatoes, country breakfasts, sausages and hot dogs all drove me into a slightly bothered frenzy and sensory overload. I plugged my nose, closed my eyes, and ran on by many a food stall for fear of gaining more weight than I could possibly lose by Friday.
After the Strikeforce event on Saturday night, I was able to head into my hometown of Bradley, Ill. I am grateful to have been able to spend a short time with my family before heading to Philly. It's been a full year since I'd been home, so it was a treat. Nothing like the sparkle in mom's eye on first sighting, and being able to have a summer Sunday at home.
Home held a few interesting surprises too. First, my college-bound sister having secured a boyfriend the day before my arrival. Wow. The five-year-old girl that sat on my knee for a photo at my Year 12 formal, where she acted as the princess to the court, has now grown up.
Speaking of growing up, my younger brother took the last two years and made an effort to grow. He's officially surpassed me in height and overall body mass. I'm now the little brother and with his continued growth and my career choice to stay a welterweight, I'll be relegated to being the li'l one for a good few years to come.
Now, the real question comes: which one of us is responsible for handling my sister's new boyfriend?
While I did not have time to catch up with my good friends whilst home, I did have some time to train with my first MMA and BJJ coach. I was also able to meet with two former high school mates, who have combined efforts to host an Official UFC 133 viewing party. One of these guys just had his first amateur MMA bout, representing Team Genesis, after losing over 200 pounds of excess body weight. What a story!
The other is the younger brother of the Vigilante MMA owner and assists in running the website. So Team Genesis, Vigilante MMA, and local restaurant The Fieldhouse have all pitched in to host a party for my bout. And just like the UFC 127 viewing party, they'll be coordinating a fundraising effort that will benefit the "Boiler Nation" which comprises of the area's youth wrestling programs.
I spent a few minutes making a short clip for a radio advertisement, met with the local newspaper, and had time to take lunch with the coordinators of the event. I'm hoping the night goes well, that some funds are raised, and that I can excite the crowd half as much as I did versus Chris Lytle.
I'm in the airport at the moment, finishing the final touches of the draft of this document, which I actually wrote in the car on the way here. I'm getting rather excited to get into "UFC mode."
I'm not such a fan of all the media obligations, but they are necessary for the promotion to do its thing. I'm just looking forward to fighting in the U.S. again, after a four-year hiatus. Seeing the coaches and friends that have supported my career -- I have a good number of folks traveling into Philly --- including all 3 of my UFC 127 cornermen, my three wrestling coaches that covered me from kindergarten through high school graduation, a group of close friends, and my sponsor at Hayabusa who will make the trip from Canada.
Looking forward to another emotionally charged and emotionally rewarding weekend. I'll speak with you all one more time, before the fight. Onto my first battle: the scale!