I had the pleasure of covering UFC 140 in Toronto, Canada this past weekend; and what a weekend it was! The week started on Thursday with a one-on-one interview with UFC fighter and fellow Croatian Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac. The interview only lasted eight minutes but I chatted with Igor afterwards for about two hours. We talked about everything from the Croatian national soccer team to life in Hrvatska. Igor then invited me to join his team during his last training session prior to the weigh in Friday. I was able to meet his two coaches, and I have to say, Luka Jelčić and Goran Babić are awesome guys.
Saturday began with me seeing off Igor and his teammates at the hotel as they boarded the fighter buses. I then made my way to the Air Canada Centre and immediately interviewed former UFC contender Frank Trigg, Vladimir Matyushenko, Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk, Frank Tropea, the voice of the octagon Bruce Buffer and Croatiansports.com’s own Nick Vujinović. The atmosphere in the Air Canada Centre was electric leading up to Igor’s fight. ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC kicked in on the arena speakers and I knew it was go time. Igor looked ready to kill as he walked towards the Octagon. ‘The Polish Experiment’ entered the Octagon to a loud ovation by the Canadian fans.
After Igor’s 35-second knockout of the Polish experiment, I immediately went back to the media center hoping to get a post-fight interview with Pokrajac. As soon as the “Duke” entered the room, we shook hands and had a little talk about the fight as the other reporters waited in the shadows. I was awarded the first post-fight interview with Igor and that in itself was an honor as many of the big MMA reporters were forced to wait for their exclusive with Pokrajac. I ended the night celebrating Igor’s victory with drinks and Greek food with The “Duke” and his crew at their hotel.
POKRAJAC POST-FIGHT INTERVIEW
On Sunday, I went to the hotel to see Igor off as his flight left Toronto for Zagreb at 4pm. I introduced him to my wife and little guy as we chatted for a bit before he went to his room to pack. Igor and his teammates are true class acts. I cannot say enough good things about them as they embraced me as one of their own the entire weekend. These guys are true Hrvati and I consider them now to be friends. The weekend could not have gone any better and Igor getting a 35-second knock out was the icing on the cake.
I encourage anyone on the site if they have an event they want to cover, let Croatiansports.com know and we might be able to get you media credentials for the event.
Last but not least: Luka, if you are reading this, don’t forget to say, “no onions on your vegetarian Greek wrap or salad.”
Mirko Cro Cop Filipović will apparently be fighting in March under the K1 banner in Zagreb, Croatia. This would mark his return to kickboxing as his last match was a victory against Bob Sapp in 2003. Let’s see how this story develops in the upcoming months.
Written by Mike “Croatian Crippler” Rožić
You can follow me on Twitter @crocrippler or on Facebook: Croatian Crippler.