Predicting a night of bloodied noses and knockouts during a UFC event isn’t hard. But who knew a classical song would rank at the top of UFC 100’s walk in music playlist? Yoshihiro Akiyama, that’s who.
The music fighters choose to accompany their walk down the tunnel to the Octagon has to fit certain criteria. It must affect their mindset and emotions properly and set the tone for their impending battle. It can add hype and get the crowd involved, or put the fighter in a mental zone. Often, fighters choose cliché Eminem songs or machismo-soaked rap or metal music to pump themselves up during the long walk. But UFC 100 heard a few less predictable choices ring out from the Mandalay Bay Events Center’s speakers.
Tom Lawlor, recipient of the submission of the night honors, set the tone for the musical component of UFC 100 with his hilarious walk in choice: “Who Let the Dogs Out.” With the crowd laughing and singing along, he walked one of his corner men into the Mandalay Bay Events Center on a leash, complete with a bone in his mouth. Lawlor showed his playful side walking in, but was all seriousness inside the Octagon with a brutal submission victory over CB Dollaway.
The veteran and UFC Hall of Fame fighter Mark Coleman opted for classic rock and walked in to ACDC’s “Hell’s Bells.” His definitive victory over the “American Psycho,” Stephan Bonnar, matched up with the brash nature of his walk in music, and silenced the crowd’s shouts of “Old Man, Coleman.”
Alan Belcher also went old school with the Bob Dylan track “Hurricane,” a protest song the folk singer penned about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s controversial imprisonment in the ‘60s. While still a fight-oriented song, opting for Dylan’s ballad as opposed to more standard ring-side fare was a bold move. Belcher wasn’t able to pull out the win against Yoshihiro Akiyama, but their fight gained Fight of the Night honors.
It was Akiyama who had the most unusual choice of music for his entrance: Andre Bocelli and Sara Brightman’s classical duet, “Time to Say Goodbye.” At first, the crowd seemed puzzled by the long instrumental introduction, during which Akiyama and his corner team paused at the end of the tunnel to kneel and bow their heads to the floor. Eventually the song’s lyrics began and Brightman and Bocelli’s familiar voices began to sing in English and Italian. The song melodically taunted Akiyama’s opponent with threatening words wrapped up inside a beautiful classical song.
Some fighters opted for more obvious or popular choices to get the crowd involved. Brit Michael Bisping marched in to The Blur’s “Song 2” and Brock Lesnar took the easy way out with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” The majority of the fans were cheering for local boy Frank Mir, but everyone sang along to the Metallica tune before promptly switching to boos for Lesnar after the last chords rang out.
Lesnar’s opponent, Mir, entered to Kanye West’s “Amazing,” and though his fight was less than amazing, the lyrics still rang true. Lesnar dominated the crowd favorite then followed his win by sullying his reputation as he flipped off the disapproving crowd and made vulgar comments that sounded like a holdover from his WWE days.
While he walked in to the Kanye track, it was Mir’s post fight eloquence and professionalism that were truly embodied by the rapper’s lyrics: “It’s amazing I’m the reason/ Everybody’s fired up this evening/I’m exhausted, barely breathing/Holding on to what I believe in.”