Imagine you’re a UFC fan, hanging out with the boys, having a few Bud Lights when your phone rings.
The voice on the other end is unmistakable. It’s Dana White. That Dana White. UFC President Dana White and he’s calling you.
“Initially I thought the call might have been a recording when I first picked up,” admits Bud Light Living UFC 186 Champion Tommy Wauchope, still trying to wrap his head around everything he’d experienced over the previous four days. “But the way that (he) was talking to me, it was so evident that it wasn’t. I had just been watching the UFC Embedded series and his voice was fresh in my head, so as soon as Dana said, ‘Hello’ I knew it was him.
“From there, everything seemed to get crazier and crazier.”
Tommy won the unforgettable fan experience in Montreal through the Bud Light Living app and had no idea what was in store for him when he boarded a plan for the passionate fight town on Wednesday. Now that it’s over, he’ll never be able to forget it.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in,” he says, the wide smile plastered on his face saying more about his experience than he can muster up in words. “Bud Light released Part One of a recap video, so that kind of puts things in perspective for me, but I’ll probably have to watch it 500 times to actually get it. It was an incredible experience and they executed everything perfectly – it was all a surprise to me.”
The Bud Light Living experience started with getting picked up the airport by a Bud Light girl and shuttled to the UFC 186 host hotel as if he was competing on the pay-per-view event himself. He was front and center on Media Day, taking pictures with the biggest names on the card including flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and returning favourite Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Tommy trained at Montreal’s Tristar Gym under the watchful eye of Firas Zahabi and had former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre kick a bottle of Bud Light off his head. He practiced “The Showtime Kick” with Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, went head-to-head with “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell in a hot wing eating contest announced by Bruce Buffer and stood on stage as the fighters hit the scale Friday at Weigh-Ins.
But things really got crazy Saturday night inside the Bell Centre.
He watched the action from the first row, surrounded by the likes of White, St-Pierre and Canadian welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald. Fighters walked to the Octagon wearing t-shirts and hats emblazoned with his name and likeness. When the lights dimmed and Johnson started making his march to the UFC cage, Tommy was right there beside him and after “Mighty Mouse” finished stubborn challenger Kyoji Horiguchi in the final second of the final round, it was Tommy that got to wrap the championship belt around Johnson’s waist in the center of the cage.
“People have been asking me ‘What was the best thing?’ and I don’t really have an answer to which really was my favourite because each experience was different in its own way,” he explains. “I was definitely the most star-struck by Georges (St-Pierre) when he tapped me on the shoulder when I was gassed hitting the bag with uppercuts. Anthony Pettis kicking those (targets) was super-fun.
“Walking out last night,” he adds, pausing as he runs the memory back in his head. “I mean, that is maybe going to have to top it because when you just walk out, the crowd is electric; I felt like I was a fighter.”
Having just enjoyed the one-of-a-kind experience of a lifetime for fight fans, Tommy admits that heading back to work this week is going to be a bit of a challenge.
Luckily, he’s got plenty of keepsakes from his time as Bud Light Living UFC 186 Champion to remind him of the unbelievable week he had in Montreal.
“My office is going to be pretty decked out,” he laughs. “It’s going to be a little tricky to go back to work, but I work in a really fun environment, so I’ll be able to take some breaks to watch some clips, put a smile on my face and get me through.”