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UFC 145 walk-in music: Paying tribute to the ATL with lots of rap

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Hew Burney/Hard Rock Hotel

Ludacris hosts New Year’s Eve at Vanity at the Hard Rock Hotel on Dec. 31, 2010.

Though nearly half of the fights at UFC 145 did not have walk-in music, rap ruled the evening for those whose songs were played. It was rumored that the main speakers were suffering from technical difficulties, hence the lack of much music, but whatever the case, many fighters employed outside-the-box rap to pump them up, rather than the trite, overused songs of past UFCs.

Given the rap-rich location of Atlanta, Georgia, many fighters opted for the genre when choosing their tracks. Marcus Brimage, known as “The Bama Beast” stuck to his Southern roots and chose “This Tha City” by Georgia rapper Pastor Troy. The song is a passionate proclamation about the singer’s hometown. Lyrics like, “We Georgia boy, when we come we come like men,” surely got the crowd involved. If that didn’t, the post-fight gymnastics both Brimage and his opponent Maximo Blanco displayed after the fight surely did. Before their post-fight theatrics, Brimage gave the crowd something else to cheer about as he won a split decision.

Blanco came out to ”Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. This lesser utilized Peas track in the octagon was a breath of fresh air. The song starts with a techno-infused surf rock beat that got the crowd on their feet. With a title like “Pump It,” this song is guaranteed to be a pump-you-up track. The lyrics may be about dancing but the prideful vibe translates well to a fighting context. Unfortunately for Blanco, his non-aggressive fighting style did not translate into a win.

Every now and then, a fighter picks a song that leaves fight fans saying, “you just don’t hear that every day.” Chris Clements was that fighter as the walked in to Bobby Day’s Rockin’ Robin. The feel-good song exuded a carefree spirit that Clements might have employed to get his mind off the intense battle he was about to face. If the bubbly song didn’t put a smile on the faces of Clements’ fans, perhaps his split decision victory over Keith Wisniewski did.

Wisniewski opted for an old school country tune, ”Good Ole Boys Like Me” by Don Williams. Lyrics like, “But you ain’t afraid if you’re washed in the blood like I was,” showed the fighter’s resolve and confidence. Though not victorious, Wisniewski put forth a great effort and almost had his opponent finished several times during the fight.

Stephen Thompson picked a rap song by Machine Gun Kelly, featuring Ester Dean. “Invincible” says it all with the title. Perhaps Thompson opted for this track because prior to this fight, he had never lost a professional fight. Lyrics like, “Do or die in my city but clearly I never failed,” notes his past record but perhaps “Invincible” was a little too over-confident as Thompson was issued his first loss at the hands of Matt Brown.

Brown went with “Rise of the Machines” by Jedi Mind Trick. The track opens with a sample from boxing legend Mike Tyson that confidently proclaims, “I’m the most brutal and most vicious and most ruthless champion there’s ever been.” The lyrics go on to taunt his opponent saying, “You lack rawness; you lack passion.” A confident, taunting song such as this is ideal for a walk-out song, provided the fighter can back up the lyrics. Luckily for Brown, he was able to pull the upset against his previously unbeaten opponent to show he really is on the “Rise.”

Given the setting, it was inevitable that someone would pick “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by Charlie Daniels. Chad Griggs chose the spirited track for his heavyweight showdown against Travis Browne. The ultimate contest song, the lyrics to this tune describe a fiddle duel between an unafraid violinist and the devil. The high-energy violin solos, combined with lyrics like “I’m the best there’s ever been,” make for a good song choice. This proved to be a somewhat empty threat though as Browne made quick work of Griggs, downing him with a flying knee midway through the first round.

Browne walked out to “Let’s Go” by Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, featuring a slew of popular rappers. The upbeat rap was rapid fire like Browne’s blows to his opponent. Lyrics like, “Then I gotta do what I be comin’ in to do,” display the fighter’s resolve and carried over to his post-fight words of warning for others in the heavyweight division.

Che Mills came out to “Bandelero” by Pinchers. The reggae song was an unexpected choice but lyrics like, “You should never dis the champion,” served as a polite warning to his opponent. Mills was the one who should avoid the dissing though, as the champion of this fight was his opponent Rory MacDonald.

MacDonald came out to an oddly titled track “Grew Up a Screw Up” by Atlanta-bred rapper Ludacris. Odd because it’s negative title, the song does have some confident lyrics like “When I came into the game, they ain’t do nothing but doubt me/ Now the whole game’s changed and it ain’t nothing without me.” MacDonald’s impressive elbows and punches proved he is no screw up now.

Rashad Evans strutted out to Immortal Technique’s “The Point Of No Return.” The track begins with symphonic intensity, alluding to the do-or-die nature of the title fight. Evans was thought to be the fighter with the best odds against MMA phenom Jones and he seemed to accept that role with lyrics like, “This is the point from which I could never return/ And if I back down then forever I burn.” Though he did keep Jones from achieving his goal of finishing the fight with a knockout, Evans proved no match for the seemingly unstoppable Jones.

Champion Jon Jones stuck to his usual “God Gave Me Style” by 50 cent but tacked on a bit of “The Champ Is Here” by Jadakiss, just in case he still had any doubters out there. Though the fight went the distance, atypical for Jones, he retained his belt. Lyrics like, “Y’all never gonna touch the kid,” rang true in the thoughts of fans who were left wondering if there really is anyone who can dethrone the champ.

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