We all see the walk-out and the fights, but we don't often get to see inside of the corners, or backstage. The smaller promotions don't usually allow media behind the curtains, and traditional photographers use the time between rounds to upload images. I take those moments, when lens' are pointed elsewhere to capture the moments that others might be missing.
Here are a few of my favorite behind the scene moments from 2016.
RFA 38 - Costa Mesa, CA - Jason Gonzalez
Before debuting in the UFC this year Jason Gonzalez dominated in the RFA. He faced Chris Padilla at RFA 38 in Costa Mesa, CA and defeated him via a second round TKO. Here he's being tended to before his corner is allowed to enter the cage to celebrate his victory.
Bellator 148 - Fresno, CA - Paul Bradley
When Paul Bradley was matched with hometown favorite Chris Honeycutt at Bellator 148 few thought he could win. The younger fighter looked unstoppable, but Bradley proved everyone wrong when knocked out the rising star in just 40 seconds. Here he is getting a pep talk from teammate Joey Beltran before the fight began.
Tru-Form Entertainment - Oceanside, CA
Often times "locker rooms" are nothing more than ballrooms divided by paper walls, trailers parked behind the venue, and in this case, a community center basketball court. This fighter had an early fight so used the rules meeting time to get his hands wrapped by a cutman.
Parq Fight Night - Dominick Cruz
Parq nightclub recently played host to a night of amateur fights in San Diego, and UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz just happened to be in attendance. He wasn't officially cornering any fighters but the professional couldn't help but shout a few words of instructions to the guys doing work in the cage.
RFA 33 - Costa Mesa, CA - Mike Segura
The last few moments before entering the cage is the last oppurtunity for your corner to impart wisdom or advice. Here, Mike Segura is taking one moment to reflect before climbing the stairs and onto the mats. His coach's hand can be seen on his back.
Invicta FC 15 - Costa Mesa, CA - Cris Cyborg and Tito Ortiz
This was taken backstage at Cris Cyborg's last Invicta fight. Her coach, mentor and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz is seen carrying her bag and hat, while MMA correspondent Karen Bryant waits in the wings for her turn to interview the Invicta featherweight champ.
Combate Americas 8 - Los Angeles, CA - Jonathan Quiroz
Jonathan Quiroz celebrates his decision win at Combate Americas Road to the Championship with his teammate and cornerman Chase Gibson. They may not walk in to the cage together, but they are waiting for you when you come out.
Bellator 160 - Anaheim, CA - Benson Henderson
What isn't seen often on TV is how many people it takes to put on a production. In this one photo alone you can see cutmen, cornermen, camera crews, referees, production crew, commissioners and of course the fighter. And as it should be, the fighter is the main focus, front and center. Henderson would go on to win this fight after his opponent, Patricio Freire, was too injured to continue the fight.
RFA 42 - Visalia, CA - Christos Giagos
Lightweight Christos Giagos had just completed a three round war in which he dominated every round, but was unable to finish his opponent. Here he sits seconds after the final bell, before hearing the judges scores. You can see his coach removing his mouth piece because Giagos is too tired to do it himself.
This is the second installment of a photo series I will be sharing throughout the coming months. If you missed the first one it can be viewed here.