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Even in the Rain, Brazilian Fans Make UFC Open Workouts Memorable Affair

UFC

held an outdoor open workout on Venice Beach on a rainy winter weekday to promote an upcoming event, you'd probably call them crazy. At the very least, you'd call them poor planners, and you'd be right.

MMAAnderson Silva

on the guest list.

UFC 134

wouldn't be just another fight card. Not in this city.

People in costumes danced to imaginary beats. Fans broke out in impromptu chants. A Brazilian reporter tried to handle a microphone in one hand and his cell phone in the other, all while wearing a pair of boxing gloves for some reason.

Did any of them even notice it was raining? Did any of them care?

Forrest Griffin

. "Who'd have thought?"

Griffin was one of the first fighters to hit the mats in the afternoon, though he didn't stay there long. The hired hands in raincoats who penguin-walked with towels under their feet to dry off the training surface never even had a chance to get out of his way. Griffin waved to the crowd, did about three minutes worth of stretches and calisthenics, then decided to call it good.

When a Brazilian reporter asked why he didn't attempt an actual workout, Griffin went into his usual deadpan.

"I don't know. Why didn't I?" he shot back. "I mean, think about it. Why would I want you guys to see my bag? You got to pay money to see my bag. Or at least buy cable TV."

When asked if that meant there was something significantly different in his bag for his rematch with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua on Saturday night, Griffin admitted it was mostly going to be the usual stuff on his part.

"It's new to Brazil though, dammit," he said.

But then, these fans didn't really come to see Griffin, and he knew it. It was UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva who most of the chants and cheers were reserved for. That is, once he finally fought through the afternoon Rio traffic and walked up to claim his belt, which the UFC's Reed Harris had carefully protected from the rain using a white beach towel.

Silva might be regarded as one of, if not the best pound-for-pound fighter when he's competing in the U.S., but it Brazil he's much more than that. He's a superstar. He's Michael Jordan, Hulk Hogan, and maybe one of the Kardashian sisters, all rolled into one.

Cameras swarmed him as he stepped briefly on the mats, and the frantic Brazilian media members nearly knocked each other to the ground trying to get a word or two out of him. While a UFC open workout in the states might only garner attention from MMA websites and a few local news outlets, in Rio it seems that everyone with a video camera and a microphone was willing to run one another over to get a glimpse of the champ.

That seemed fine with Silva, who showed up in glasses and earphones and removed neither as he held court all in Portuguese (with no translation provided by either his camp or the UFC), showing a level of enthusiasm one doesn't typically see out of him at most fight week media responsibilities.

But this one was special. This one was for his countrymen, who jumped up and down in the sand and cheered him like he was royalty, even if he didn't bother to do much of a workout, which was, ostensibly anyway, the whole purpose of the afternoon.

Then again, it was a rainy winter's day in Rio. Not that anybody noticed.

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