Posted on December 21, 2011 by Jason Bobbitt
It is less than one week away until the first puck drops at the World Junior Hockey Championships and the entire staff at West Coast Authentic is busy preparing autographed Team Canada memorabilia to be auctioned off at the 31 games played in Edmonton and Calgary.
Early last week we had received the news from Hockey Canada that we had been awarded the contract to host 62 auctions (2 per game) in the arena concourses in both cities. At each game we will have a silent auction in the upper and lower concourses and the items will consist of autographed jerseys and photos of Team Canada players.
The funds generated from the auctions will help ensure Canada remains at the forefront in the development and promotion of amateur hockey. If you are attending any of the games make sure to come see us and checkout the quality memorabilia we have on display. Open up your wallets and place a bid and help prepare amateur players to represent Canada in international competition.
Posted on December 20, 2011 by Jason Bobbitt
It was a feeling of déjà vu when boarding the plane to Toronto as it was only 7 months ago that we attended UFC129 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre on April 30, 2011. Our inaugural UFC trip in April was an incredible experience, the fighters, managers and agents welcomed us into the UFC family and we got a taste of things to come.
The trip to UFC140 was just as memorable as we were greeted by familiar faces in the lobby of Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle. Before we had a chance to check in, we were asked by Lyoto Machida’s manager, Ed Soares, if we could do the private signing with Lyoto right away instead of the following day so off we went luggage and all down to the conference room where we met “The Dragon” for a one hour private signing of photos, posters, shorts, and cards. Just before the signing, the WCA team from Kelowna; Jason Bobbitt, Steve Naka and Troy Hunnie have a brief reunion with recruits from New Brunswick, Steve Bobbitt and Rob Hohmann. During the Machida signing, Ed nonchalantly throws down the gloves that Lyoto wore when he defeated Couture at UFC129. It was a no-brainer for us to purchase them on site and have Lyoto sign them along with the words “UFC129 vs Couture”. With goose bumps, we captured this moment on video.
Next up, Mark Hominick and Sam Stout! We can always check in to the hotel later, it is more important that we work with the fighters’ schedules as some of these guys have to fight in the Octagon in 48 hours in front of 20,000 fans at the Air Canada Centre and in front of millions more on Pay-Per-View. What a treat to have two great Canadian MMA fighters in the same room for a private signing. It was evident by the jokes thrown around between Mark and Sam that the two are good friends but it was hard not to notice that they still mourn the loss of their friend and trainer, Shawn Tompkins whom passed away suddenly in August at the young age of 37. At UFC140 this will be Mark’s first fight without Shawn and we could not even imagine how difficult this must be for him. Check out our private signing videos with Mark Hominick and Sam Stout.
Day one’s signings are done so we all head up to the lobby to check-in and we run into Octagon girl Chandella Powell for a quick chat, followed by Frankie Edgar, Jake Shields, Ben Henderson, Claude Patrick, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and several other top UFC fighters, some on the UFC140 card, and some just here to promote upcoming fights or provide moral support to fellow fighters. It’s after 1am and finally time to check-in then get something to eat at the biggest sports bar we have ever seen, Real Sports Bar & Grill, while we watched rewind hockey on a two-story HD TV screen!
Day 2 has in store for us an entertaining, private signing with Jake Shields followed by a 10 minute walk down to the UFC140 weigh-ins at the Air Canada Centre. Soon after, it’s back to the hotel for a private signing with Rogerio Nogueira (Little Nog). View our private signing videos with Shields and Nogueira.
Right after the Nogueira signing we were surprised to get a call from Frank Mir’s agent Malki Kawa wanting us to do a signing in Frank’s hotel room. Surprised because it is after 11pm and Frank has to fight Big Nog the very next day. With pens, photos, gloves, and camera equipment in hand, we head up to Frank’s three bedroom hotel suite where we are greeted by Frank’s wife and thirteen of Mir’s family members. Also in the room, Frank is on a massage table and his therapist is working on his upper body. At first we were not sure how we were going to do the signing in such a small area full of distractions but it turned out to be one of the best autograph sessions we have ever done. We have never seen this kind of chemistry and support from any other fighters’ camp, it was truly amazing. Frank did most of the signings with his young son on his lap while he and his wife shared funny stories with us. We have captured some of these moments on video.
Back to the lobby again and we meet up with Kelowna’s own, Rory Macdonald and then quick photos and autographs with Arianny Celeste, Matt Mitrione, Herb Dean, Brian Ebersole, Krzysztof Soszyński, Dennis Hallman, John Makdessi and Patrick Cote. At 3am the Carolina Hurricanes walk into the lobby to check in and WCA’s Steve Naka notices right away. As we get several Carolina hockey players (Cam Ward, Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Anthony Stewart) to stop for photos and autographs, the UFC fans in the lobby are confused…. are these guys in the UFC?… are these guys fighters? I guess technically some of them are “fighters” and it certainly did lead to questions from people asking us who they were.
Game day is always the most exciting day. Again in the lobby we network with fighters, agents, managers, trainers and the media. We notice a young boy getting autographs from some of the fighters so we decide to chat him up. It turns out that earlier that day he had won a pair of autographed Tito Ortiz gloves from Dana White on the street. On game day, Dana often announces giveaways on twitter and if you are in the right place at the right time you win memorabilia or UFC tickets. It was also the kid’s birthday and weeks earlier he was promised by a friend of the family that he would be going to UFC140 but at the 11th hour the family friend bailed and left the kid hanging. It was obvious that he was a big UFC fan as he knew all the fighters and all of their stats. The kid asked us if we had any spare tickets and he was willing to trade the gloves that he won in exchange for them. Well, being the great guys we are, we made it our mission to get the kid free tickets so we started tweeting plus we told pretty much everybody in the lobby about the kid’s plight. The hotel manager got wind of it and told a UFC executive then the next thing you know the kid scores a ticket for himself and for a friend!
Another 10 minute walk to the Air Canada Centre and we are at UFC140 just in time for the prelims. Tonight West Coast Authentic sponsors 5 fighters on the fight card, Frank Mir, Mark Hominick, Claude Patrick, Dennis Hallman, and Rich Anttonito. Troy Hunnie, Marketing Director for West Coast Authentic is also sponsoring Claude Patrick through his web media company Spincaster Productions Inc. One of West Coast Authentic’s exclusive fighters Jon “Bones” Jones is in tonight’s main event vs. Machida and it is expected to be a war.
If you watched UFC140 you know what we are talking about when we say it was a great card! It was certainly one of the most memorable ones we have been to. Near the end of the event, the kid that scored the tickets earlier came up to our seats and thanked us. What a great kid!
Ok, back to the hotel after the event and the lobby is buzzing. Things get wild when remaining light heavyweight champion Jon Bones walks in, there is big mob around him and no one can even get close but he sees WCA owner, Jason Bobbitt and the rest of the WCA team and gives Jason a big kiss on the cheek and says “We did it!”. Later Tito Ortiz walks in and a new mob forms and then begins chanting his name “TI-TO!, TI-TO!, TI-TO!” Definitely a fan fave.
The toughest day is the day after the event and it means traveling home with only a few hours of sleep. Before heading out we had a 10 minute meeting with Jon Bones followed by a quick chat with Tito Ortiz, this time without a mob of fans. After that it was off to the airport with our collection of autographed photos, gloves, posters, shorts, trading cards and more. Check our website soon for these new autographed memorabilia items!
What a fantastic trip! Next trip is UFC 145 in Montreal… can’t wait!
Posted on December 1, 2011 by Jason Bobbitt
Jon “Bones” Jones named Charles “Mask” Lewis Fighter of the Year at World MMA Awards
Las Vegas, Nev. - UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones, the youngest champion in UFC history, has been named the Charles “Mask” Lewis Fighter of the Year at the 2011 Fighters Only World MMA Awards. Winners are determined by fan voting.
“I am honored that the fans would vote me Fighter of the Year,” Jones said. “I have worked very hard to get to this point in my career, and for to give me this award amongst the other great fighters in this category is very humbling.”
“We are seeing a special fighter develop before our very eyes,” added Jones’ agent at First Round Management, Malki Kawa. “I am grateful that the fans recognized him given his three wins already this year with another title defense in December, less than three months after his last fight.”
Jones has won all three of his fights so far in 2011. On Feb. 5 at UFC 126, the 24 year-old Endicott, N.Y. native defeated Ryan Bader by submission in a win that would ultimately earn him a title fight. Just six weeks later at UFC 128, Jones earned the Light Heavyweight belt by dominating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a third-round TKO/KO. At UFC 135 on Sept. 24, Jones capped off his first title defense with a submission victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. It was the first time Jackson had ever been submitted in his legendary UFC career.
Jones is scheduled to fighter Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on Dec. 10. A victory would give Jones three title wins in one year, and also three wins over former UFC champions in one year, which has yet to happen in the UFC. Rua and Jackson were also previous title holders.
In his career, Jones holds a 14-1 record, with eight wins coming via TKO/KO and another four by submission. Last year, he was named the Breakthrough Fighter of the Year at the World MMA Awards. He trains at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M. and is coached by Greg Jackson, who was named Coach of the Year.
First Round Management client Diego “The Dream” Sanchez was also nominated in the category of Fight of the Year for his March 3 unanimous decision win over Martin Kampmann.
This is the fourth year of the Fighters Only World MMA Awards, which were held at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The top fighters, fights, coaches, media members and more are honored in 22 different categories decided by fan voting. The Fighters Only World MMA Awards are the only major awards ceremony highlighting the best from the sport of mixed martial arts.