Whether you're thinking of purchasing the PPV or not, this Bellator NYC card is the promotion's star-studded offering and it's an event littered in interesting fights throughout on top of their cast of big-name fighters. Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will finally settle their beef in a grudge match serving as the headline act on Saturday, while the rescheduled heavyweight tilt between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione acts as the co-main event.
How do you make God laugh?
Make a plan. Fifty hours before his humbling in front of the entire sports world, the greatest prospect in MMA history leapt out of bed. Time for the next leg of the Aaron Pico plan.
Before anyone was demanding explanations from the year-old phenom for his disastrous pro debut, which he lost to a virtual unknown in 24 wispy seconds, there was nothing but open runway. And that Thursday afternoon, Pico was champing at the bit to meet it. That Saturday, he would face Zach Freeman at Bellator On Thursday, he was in a room at the Hotel New Yorker, the venerable dame that has hosted God only knows how many athletes and performers.
Across the street is the place Pico will fight: Madison Square Garden, whose bona fides need no review. I can feel the energy. Scott Harris Killing time is a skill in itself during fight week, but Pico and his team have it all planned out. Pico hops around the suitcases and clothing and people and training gear that lie about the room, firing an air punch here and there as he does it.
He heads into the bathroom and comes back out with his special deodorant—no aluminum in it! Then his toothpaste. Here, check this out. All organic! Would anyone like a piece of gum? He offers the pack around. How about a bottle of water? It is not easy to dislike Aaron Pico. No creature walking or crawling would seem immune to his attempts to make a good impression.
At 5'8" and pounds, give or take, Pico could be just about any year-old. His baby face is often serious but occasionally lights up in a massive grin.
Anthony, who just last month retired from a career selling medical supplies to be with Aaron full time, has the same bearing as his son: proud and opinionated but affable, in no way difficult to talk to. But there is one difference between Aaron and Anthony: The elder Pico is getting nervous.
That comes when Aaron takes off his shirt or simply moves about a room. Olympic freestyle wrestling team last year, when he was He would have been the first teenager to do that in 40 years.
Frustrated by the result, Pico and Co. Schedules and obligations during his training for the trials had splintered his peace of mind and made life hectic, preventing him from getting the most out of his training, or any other activity.
Something had to change. The answer? Just having a sense of direction. With the trials it was kind of all over the place.
The plan was calling. Time for a session with an electronic muscle stimulator, which contracts muscle fibers to promote strengthening. Pico after one of his successful Olympic trials matches. After a somewhat controversial decision to forgo college in favor of international wrestling, Pico became a decorated competitor on the global stage, capturing a world championship in the process.
The scary part for MMA fans? Toss in the ancient wrestling-striking hybrid sport of pankration for good measure. He has a couple of national titles in that. We want to fight somebody that's had six to 10 fights.
I'm excited. So I have that confidence in him. Do you know how you know when an electronic stimulation session is over?
Pico leaps back up out of bed.
Archuleta and another training partner egg him on. Someone behind him begins to rhythmically slap the mattress in support. I prepared well. They have a few final pounds of water weight to shed before the weigh-ins at 9 a. The long, dark, low-ceilinged room is slick and foggy with moisture.
A thin blue ribbon of a lap pool runs down the center of the room and already contains a hardy swimmer or two. The sauna nearby already contains Pico, Archuleta sitting dutifully beside him. Pico in the sauna Friday morning. He ducks his head in the sauna door.
Pico calls him Coach Cal. Archuleta calls him Gandalf. And not the gray version, either. The white one, the more powerful one.
To say Calavitta is brimming with life is to potentially overestimate the notion of brimming. The happy-eyed former mathematician is the kind of guy who chats up strangers in elevators.
He has nine children. A while back, he became a performance analyst and coach in order to spread the word on his own performance formula of math and biology. If someone had a bad practice today you destroyed them tomorrow.