Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | 4:01 p.m.
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UFC 141 weigh-in
2011 Miss Playboy Club Melissa Richardsonl
Behemoth Brock Lesnar wouldn’t do any interviews at Thursday’s UFC 141 weigh-in and left it to rival Alistair Overeem. Videographer Richard Corey was on duty and reports that UFC lightweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone agreed to let rival Nate “Street Fighter” Diaz fight even though Nick weighed in 1 pound over the 157-pound limit.
UFC ring girl Brittney Palmer, who was a former assistant to Flamingo magician headliner Nathan Burton, ahem, revealed that she will be the March 2012 Playboy as a centerfold beauty.
Advance word is that Overeem will march into the ring to the music of Lil Jon and Sidney Samson’s hit “Mutate.” After the bout, win or lose, he’ll join Surrender DJs at Steve Wynn’s Encore.
BELLAGIO FOUNTAINS’ NEW HOURS, MUSIC: The crowds keep growing for the spectacular water show at the Bellagio Fountains. Execs count more than 15,000 tourists a day stop to watch the dancing fountain shows. Now, I can report exclusively that because of the traffic, the song rotation will jump from 29 to 32, and two extra performance hours will be added daily starting this weekend.
Bellagio chieftain Randy Morton confirmed to me that shows will begin at 3 p.m. daily instead of 5. This weekend, technicians will add water choreography for “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. Then new routines for Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” start Sunday and for the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” later in January.
It’s an incredible sign that our tourism numbers are picking up as our economy begins to bounce back. Some are delicately predicting that this NYE weekend might be our biggest yet or at least equal past records.
PARIS JETSETS WITH AFROJACK: Celebrity and business mogul Paris Hilton made headlines with her two nights on the Strip this week while looking dazzling in her new Michael Boychuck hairstyling for New Year’s. She was seen back in the good graces of hotel mogul Steve Wynn at Surrender and also partying at the Palms.
Now I can reveal that she has flown to New York, is set to visit Miami and then returns here for New Year’s Day in a 4-day jet-set jaunt. She’s sparking romance rumors coast to coast because she’s traveling with DJ Afrojack to his nightclub performances in each city and will be with him again here Sunday.
HEF CHOOSES MELISSA RICHARDSON: Congratulations to Las Vegas model Melissa Richardson, who was named 2011 Miss Playboy Club and revealed Thursday night at the Palms as the cover girl on the 2012 calendar. Eight of the 12 calendar beauties attended.
Melissa, who was Miss February 2011, won $5,000 and the news that Playboy founder and mogul Hugh Hefner has requested that she take a test shoot for a possible Playboy pictorial and centerfold. UFC President Dana White was on hand, as was Richard Corey, who talked with Melissa.
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from the critical head injury she suffered in the tragic Tucson gun spree, visited “Bodies: the Exhibit” at the Luxor on Thursday with astronaut husband Mark Kelly. Under the protection of security guards, she toured the attraction while listening to an audio tour. … Dr. Phil McGraw celebrated his wife Robin’s birthday with David Foster and his new wife Yolanda Hadid at Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace after meeting Celine Dion backstage post-show. Phil had iced tea, and the others enjoyed Silver Oak wine with their meals.
… Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrated his mom’s birthday -- and maybe the $1 million bet he won when Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos fell to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots -- treating her and friends to dinner at N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms on Thursday night. … “The Secret Circle” star Thomas Dekker celebrated his 24th birthday at Lavo in the Palazzo and was joined by co-stars Chrys Zylka and Shelly Henning, plus Jade Ramsay, Anthony Fitzgerald and Nikita Ramsey. Alistair Overeem fueled up for his bout tonight a table away. … TV doctor Drew Pinsky dined at Tao in the Venetian before attending Criss Angel’s “Believe” at the Luxor. … And soccer star Josmer “Jozy” Altidore watched Blue Man Group at the Venetian.
Our New Year’s Eve Weekend Celebrity Preview of all the stars at play tonight, Saturday and Sunday was posted this morning. Check back here during the weekend as we post reports and photo galleries and early in the week as we wrap up America’s biggest block party.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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