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July 31, 2014

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Music sets mood for UFC fighters’ entrance into arena

Can we get a little mood music here?

Who knew a classical song would be the hit of the UFC 100’s walk-in music playlist? The music fighters choose to accompany their walk down the tunnel affects their mindsets and emotions and sets the tone for their battles in the Octagon.

Song choice adds to the hype by getting the crowd involved. Oftentimes, fighters choose clichéd Eminem songs or other machismo-soaked rap or metal music to pump themselves up. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it is always a breath of fresh air when fighters opt for a less traditional or at least a more fun song.

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.” As if this wasn’t enough to get 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 business inside the Octagon with a brutal submission victory over CB Dollaway.

The veteran and UFC Hall of Fame fighter Mark Coleman opted for some fitting 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 contoversial imprisonment in the 1960s. A fight-oriented song like this might be considered cliché, but opting for one of Dylan’s ballads as opposed to a violence-tinged rap song 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.

Akiyama had the most unusual choice of music with 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 the lyrics “it’s time to say goodbye” in English and Italian.

The words held an ironic meaning as he was melodically taunting his opponent with threatening words wrapped up inside a beautiful classical song.

Some fighters opted for the more obvious or popular choices to get the crowd involved. Brit Michael Bisping marched in to The Blur’s “Song 2” as the increasingly more boisterous fans happily sang along to the chant of “whoo hoo.” Even if they weren’t behind Bisping, as evidenced by the overwhelming collection of “boos” shouted after the music stopped, Bisping’s wise walk-in choice gained him some support, albeit temporary.

After Dan Henderson’s amazing knockout of “The Count,” Bisping fell even farther out of favor with the crowd, as “Born in the USA” blasted over the loudspeakers in honor of Henderson’s victory.

Brock Lesnar also took the easy way out with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Who doesn’t like to rock out to the iconic metal hit? 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 must be a holdover from his WWE days. West’s lyrics reminded loyal Mir fans that “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” as Mir stuck to his guns as a class act and conducted himself in the manner befitting a professional UFC fighter.

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