Article

Do's and Don'ts of Getting Your Fighter Autograph

By Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino - At an autograph session or some other time when a fighter’s there for that, you can attack him all you want. But there are some other times when it’s not so appropriate.

By Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino

UFC stars are some of the most approachable and accessible pro athletes in the world -- take the UFC Fan Expo, May 28 and 29 in Las Vegas, a two-day event where you can mingle with more than 30 fighters. There's little more exciting to a fan than getting a picture with their idol (fist clench optional), but there is some unspoken etiquette to asking for one. We asked UFC 111 Sub of the Night winner Kurt Pellegrino for advice.

fan pix dan hardy kurt pellegrino

At an autograph session or some other time when a fighter’s there for that, you can attack him all you want. But there are some other times when it’s not so appropriate.

DO just ask

Most fans do a really good job. They’ll just come up and ask for a picture or want to say hi, they’re awesome. I love the fans.

DON’T ask for a pic when he’s in the eye of the tiger

When a fighter is in the tunnel, when he’s fighting, he’s doing his job and highly focused. As I was walking out for my fight with Fabricio someone asked for a picture – you hear it and think, “Did someone really just ask that?” After my Thiago Tavares fight someone came up to me and my wife in a restaurant and asked if they could sit with us and talk about the fight. Sorry, but I haven’t seen her in two months.

DO cut them some slack at the weigh-in

When a fighter looks like he’s on Star Wars or guest-starring as Skeletor, it’s probably best to leave him alone. One fan cursed me out after my Josh Neer weigh in because I wouldn’t sign an autograph. It’s also pretty safe to not come up right as he’s getting into a taxi after the weigh-in – 1. He’s hungry 2. The meter’s on, so it’s costing money.

DON’T try to break their hands
fan expo image rampage
The World's Strongest Man Handshake – it happens all the time and it hurts. World's Strongest Man Handshake is not required for fighters, and it’s not required when you’re meeting fighters and want to prove you’re tough. I quiver as soon as I see it in somebody’s eyes when they look across the room, like, ‘That’s guy’s a pro fighter… I’m gonna break his hand.”

DO practice good hygiene

When I’m eating a sub, don’t come up and shake my hand, because I’m using it. For that matter, one time I was taking a pee next to some guy and he tried to shake my hand. I had to say, “I’m not going to shake your hand, and for obvious reasons.” The bathroom is for peeing.

kurt pellegrino as chad campbellDO chill

We have guys come to the gym all the time and ask “Is that so-and-so?” Just hang out and watch, wait till they’re done with the workout, then we always say hi and take pictures or sign stuff.

DON’T play armchair corner

Fighters all love when people who don'’t fight tells us how to fight. One guy in a crowd actually wanted to fight me. That’s real smart thinking. Then again, he was from Philly so he’s probably an Eagles fan – it can’t be helped.

DO hang out by the elevators

UFC fans hang out by the hotel elevators all week when there’s a fight. It’s the craziest thing – you see the same ones from Tuesday to Saturday. They never leave; they just send their friends to go get food. I don’t know if they bring their sleeping bags and sleep there. I see the same people every time, it’s pretty funny.

DON’T get me in trouble
kurt pellegrino and kenny florian One girl asked me to sign her boobs in front of my wife, that was weird. At the last fight, a guy came up and said “I don’t want a picture of you, I want a picture of your wife.” Please don’t tell me my wife is hot; I don’t appreciate that. She’s very good-looking, but I’m an Italian man and I have a lot of honor in my wife. I’m not going to put a bag over her head, but common courtesy goes a long way.
 

Saturday, September 20
8AM
BST
Saitama, Japan

Media

Recent
Relive episode two of The Ultimate Fighter with the Octagon Photo Action Gallery. (Photos by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Sep 17, 2014
Octagon photos from the second episode of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned. Featuring the bout between Joanne Calderwood and Emily Kagan.
Sep 17, 2014
Vice Japan brings us a profile of two fighters at crossroads in their fighting careers: Yoshihiro Akiyama and Kiichi Kunimoto. Both have encountered major challenges as they’ve trained in Japan, preparing for the biggest fight of their respective careers.
Sep 17, 2014
Check out the weigh-in before Joanne Calderwood and Emily Kagan go to war tonight on an all-new episode of The Ultimate Fighter.
Sep 17, 2014