Sydney, Australia's VT1 Academy Owner owner Liam Resnekov (Lemons on the UG) is in Kansas City for Invicta FC 5, and in this UG guest blog offers his impressions of America.
There's no place like home...from Oz to Kansas. (An Aussie in Kansas City)
Having traveled all over the world, I still have to say that America is the most underrated country to visit... in the world. Forget Europe...To a foreigner like me it's an amazing conglomeration of 50 mini countries with completely unique cultures, language, landscapes and attitudes. Forget France and Italy (they are amazing.. .but that's obvious)... I'll take the culture shock of jumping from South Beach to South Central and over to Harlem any day... you just need to go past the surface a little bit.
When you hop off the plane from Australia, you think everything will be like it is in the movies... and it largely is. Everything is LARGE. You've heard it all before..the people, the food servings and the cars.
Why are we here?
We're in Kansas for Invicta FC. I'm accompanying VT1 Academy fighter Alex "Astro Girl" Chambers along with her best friend and training partner, Glen "Hangman" Haneman. Alex is fresh off a huge knockout upset of Japanese superstar Mika Nagano at 115 lbs, but has been moved down to her real weight at 105 lbs to take on a formidable Jackson's MMA fighter.
Her best buddy Glen is the most unassuming and cheerful fellow you'll ever meet. Somewhat like a cheerful Woody Allen that you don't expect to strangle you with lethal efficiency. (he's an amazing grappler and coach).
My job is to make sure she gets to the ring in one piece.... and to corrupt poor Glen as much as I can while we are on this trip.
For those of you who haven't made the trip over to Oz... it's brutal. 13 Hours to LA.. .4 hour wait... 2 hours to Denver... 4 hour wait... 2 hours on a prop plane seating 30 people going through a hurricane.
Doesn't help to see this photo before you jump on the rubberband-powered death bomb:
I was elated to have my feet on the ground...
Australian's are generally considered quite worldly. Personally I've made close to 60 training trips overseas to the USA, South East Asia, Europe etc, Alex and Glen had similar experiences. The thing we take for granted is that when we visit the USA we rarely stray from either of the coasts. LA, NYC, Miami, Vegas, San Diego etc are our common destinations. Even with our travel experience we really overshot in thinking Kansas City is a quiet country town. All I read in the travel guide was BBQ Burnt ends and drooled.
Our first night here was a little bit of a culture shock. We're in the centre of america and the Bloods and Crips made it out here? Someone forgot to tell me that Kansas is the 9th most dangerous city in America. I live in a quiet suburb in Sydney amongst the shrubbery, where the only crime perpetuated against me was a month ago. A junkie broke my car window and stole my shoes (thailand $12)...as well as my mail. Coupon theft..that's the extent of it.
My concerns were quickly distracted when my pants went tight on seeing the Dodge Challenger. For the Aussies reading...It's a cross between the Roadwarrior's (Mad Max in Oz) car and the Nightrider's. In Australia, we love our cars, maybe even more than our women (more on that later), but you guys have it made. I know that American's don't generally perceive the Dodge to be a particularly cool car, but let me tell you; In Australia; I could driving it in a pink tube top, a leopard skin thong wearing hooker makeup and you'd still think I was the Fonz.
My second distraction was the BBQ. Boy you people are proud of it here. Nobody can decide where is the best! We've vowed to eat it once a day so we can try them all. I couldn't believe the serving sizes. It was 11 am and people were downing half a cow with bread, chips and beer. We love our meat in Oz, but you guys have us topped. Glen "The whitest guy alive" Hangman told me to stop whistling the tune to Fat Albert. Apparently I'd started singing it under my breath without realising it..."I'm gonna sing a song for youu ooo" and get looks from our waitress, Queen Latifah. Apparently she's fallen on hard times but damn she gives good advice on mains.
Oh btw a Garden salad isn't supposed to have bacon in it. Even my coleslaw had bacon in it!
Another observation: Asian food...you guys really don't know what it is. Sh/City Wok and a korean guy serving sushi with pickles...and don't get me started on PF Changs. They are laughing all the way to the bank at you. The only place I had worse asian food was in England where they were passing fish and chips with prawn toast off as Cantonese food. Come to Australia, where Asian food is better than in Asia!
My favourite shop logo so far: Noodle Blast - What asian's eat in asia. . . Wow.
Jay walking... what the hell is that?
A warning to all Ozies... I almost got ran over twice yesterday! Don't look to the right when crossing... look left!!
Tomorrow the real fun begins, the athletes from Invicta FC arrive... I get to meet some my heroes - Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz... Corner against Greg Jackson and Keith Jardine (who I really respect and will try not to ask for an autograph in-between rounds). Oh and ask THE MAN Pat Barry to leg-kick me... or Glen... Yes Glen rather.
Next blog we'll keep you updated on :
1. Behind the scenes at Invicta FC...all the shenanigans.
2. Strip Mall Karate (I thought Rex Kwan Do was a joke...)
3. Car Cancer, Crazy Taxis and Car jackings!
4. Is there anything we don't have to tip for?
5. Alamo Drafthouses! (Holy Crap)
6. Guns: Don't point that at me sir.
7. Glen's journey into manhood (at 43)...
MMA gear now available at the UG Store