At a recent gathering of WEC personnel and MMA writers, matchmaker Sean Shelby told the story about how Jose Aldo requested to defend his title against Urijah Faber in Sacramento, Calif., Faber’s home town.
WEC general manager Reed Harris and former featherweight champion Mike Brown quickly jumped in to add to Shelby’s story.
A good writer knows when to get out of the way and let their interview subjects’ words tell the story. So here goes.
Shelby: “Aldo’s manager, Ed [Soares], called me, and said ‘Hey, I got a great idea. I’m sitting here with Aldo, and he’s saying that he wants to fight Faber in Sacramento. He wants to fight him in his hometown.’ I said ‘Are you sure about that?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, he wants to beat him in front of his own fans.’”
Brown: “He’s gonna get booed.”
Harris: “I was thinking he should come out to ‘California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas. What do you think about that?”
Brown: “At the weigh-ins, I remember when I fought Urijah the second time.”
Harris, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms: “Remember that, hahahaha.”
Brown, growing more animated with each word: “I thought they were going to boo me, but I wasn’t prepared for the boos I got. They were like ‘Boooooooooo!’”
Harris, unfolding his arms and leaning in: “Here’s the actual truth. We’re standing on the stage and all the lights are hitting us, so we can’t see the fans. Mike leans over and says, ‘Maybe you should stand in front of me.’”
Brown: “Reed says, ‘Mike, I’m worried. I think they might start throwing stuff at you.’ It felt like a bucket of water right in my face.”
Yes, they love their hometown hero in Sacramento. Of the 15 WEC events held since June 2008, WEC 48 is the fourth in the capital of California. Faber has fought on all four cards. Four of Faber’s last five fights have been in Sac-Town. What better way for Aldo to test his skills and cement his place on the pound-for-pound rankings.