Ultimate Fighting Championship fans can relive the history of the UFC by visiting the Octagon Nation Tour. It's a museum on wheels, with memorabilia from the UFC's early years to its current-day fighters. This 18-wheel trailer was in Columbia. Fans saw the history of how mixed martial arts has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
The UFC as an organization is only 18 years old, but for fans, this interactive tour gives them a look at the men that have dominated the sport in it's brief existence. It starts with the gi worn by the first world champion, Royce Gracie, an item from UFC president Dana White's personal collection.
On display are promotional posters from the early years of "The Ultimate Fighter." You can see how the sport has evolved. Printed on the front in bold red lettering is "There Are No Rules!" Clearly, times have changed. Also on display are fighting shorts from world champions George St. Pierre, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Shawn Sherk and others.
Fans can hold and wear a replica UFC championship belt. There are large flat-screen TV's throughout the tour showing clips from UFC fights. While holding the championship belt, I could hear Bruce Buffer, the "voice of the octagon," over the sound system: " ... and new heavyweight champion of the world ..." OK, I guess you can dream of being a fighter.
But if you can't be a fighter, you can train like a fighter. I tried my skills at the UFC gaming station featuring the Xbox Kinect UFC Trainer Experience. I got a chance to train with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, as he held up punching pad and gave me instructions on how to punch. At the end of the game, you get a score on how well you did. Let's say I'm not quitting my day job.
On tour stops, fans also can meet and talk to current UFC fighters. In attendance in Columbia was UFC featherweight fighter Mackens Sesersier. He won his last fight by submission over Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres at UFC Fight Night: Noqueira vs. Davis in March. He engaged with fans, signed autographs and gave away UFC DVDs.
For UFC fans, this is a great way to see the history of the sport, connect with fighters and engage with other fans. Check out the next tour stops at www.ufc.com/tour