Rockets rave about their UFC 166 experience

Rockets rave about their UFC 166 experience
October 20, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Rockets loved their UFC experience

The Rockets saw the Toyota Center from a different view on Saturday night.

The players enjoyed meeting the UFC 166 main event fighters, UFC stars Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, in the team’s locker room Thursday and then the whole team attended the event on Saturday. Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and Chandler Parsons got to see the action from the front row.

“It was crazy,” said Harden, who attended his very first live UFC fight. “You’re up and close seeing all those guys trying to do whatever it takes to win – break the other person’s nose or arm or whatever it takes to win. That’s the kind of mindset that I have going into every single game is doing whatever it takes.”

“It was a different experience for me,” said Beverley, who also attended his first UFC event. “That’s the real deal – blood everywhere, but it was fun. The whole team went. We had a great experience."

“I’ve been to a couple. I think the best fight was the one in the stands. There was a fight in the stands that was pretty good,” Howard joked. “But the whole night was great. It was sold out. We’re looking to see those same types of crowds when we start playing. But it was a lot of fun. We all enjoyed it and the fans were great.”

Rookie Isaiah Canaan also attended but sat in the suite with the rest of the team.

“I’m just amazed at how they can take a beating to their bodies like that,” Canaan said. “It takes a special type of human to sit in that ring for that long period of time and take a beating. It was fun. It was my first time seeing that up close and personal. I always watch it on TV. So, for me to actually see it live was amazing.”

Charles Barkley, Roger Clemens and Lee Majors, the “Six Million Dollar Man,” were other celebrities spotted octagon-side, but the Rockets were also treated like rock stars by the packed house, which roared whenever the players were shown on the big screen or walked through the crowds.

While Howard, Parsons, Lin and Beverley left as soon as the fight was over, Harden stuck around on the floor near the octagon watching the post-fight events.

“Just embracing how hard those guys train and work to be able to compete and fight and stay in rounds for five minutes through all the adversity,” Harden said. “It’s pretty cool.”