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Fighting words: A 1st-timers guide to UFC

January 26, 2012|By Ted Gruber, For RedEye

It's understandable if you are watching UFC—either live on TV or in person—for the first time Saturday night. The sport hasn't been in Chicago since 2008 and Fox just starting televising UFC bouts late last year.

So, what do you need to know as a first-time attendee or viewer? Here's a start.

Pre-game: With the event sold out, expect to arrive at the United Center early, just as you would for a Blackhawks puck drop or Bulls tipoff. The first fight starts around 3 p.m. If you are watching at home, FUEL broadcasts the prelims before the main card airs on Fox.

The Basics: UFC rules aren't hard to follow, but some things happen inside the octagon that will leave you saying "huh?" There are four ways a fight can end: knockout, technical knockout, submission or via the judges' scorecards. All fights except the main event are made up of three five-minute rounds. The main event between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis will feature five five-minute rounds.

Ring leaders: The main announcer during the fighters' introductions is Bruce Buffer (brother of famous boxing announcer Michael Buffer). You'll also see Octagon Girls Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer and Chandella Powell. Hopefully the ladies are sporting outfits that reflect Chicago.

Don't's: At your first MMA event, you might have a few alcoholic drinks in you, but that's no excuse. Whatever you do, don't yell these things that you think are funny but really aren't.

"Kick his ass Seabass" will immediately be said; it's been used and not funny anymore. You aren't at a diner and aren't flicking salt over your shoulder.

"Stand them up" is a no-no, especially if there is a lot of offense taking place on the mat. If they are just down there for more than 30 seconds, go ahead and join the majority who will boo.

Ted Gruber is a RedEye special contributor.

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