LAS VEGAS Walking out of the men’s room and nearly bumping into Claire Danes? Check. Or, as Claire Danes is saying right now, “Walking around the MGM Grand Arena and nearly bumping into Mac Engel? Check.”
We actually made eye contact, and the tension was palpable ... or maybe that was the taco I ate earlier in the day.
The Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight brought more A-list, good looking celebrities than a spring awards show. The Fight was the place to be on Saturday night, and until I win the Award for Man of the Century, never again will I rub elbows with so many beautiful people in my life. The cool thing was they were all asking who I was (*).
In my award-winning career, I have written stories in odd places - behind the customer service counter at a grocery store after hours was memorable - but Saturday night in Vegas outside of the VIP Pre-Party only barely tops that one.
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Because of poor Internet access, I improvised and my travels took me to the bowels of the MGM Grand Arena. It was the one spot where WiFi would work.
I unintentionally landed in the spot where the pretty people were milling around, waiting to go to their special people seats at ringside. It was here where I nearly bumped into Claire Danes, where I should have punched her for her role in Terminator 3.
BTW - In person, she is what one might call attractive. Might. The next person I saw pretty much made me melt: Russian Model Irina Shayk. Whatever Claire Danes thinks shes does to the Hot Meter, Shayk destroyed.
It was in this spot I sat down against a wall, and began to pound out this brilliance - a scene piece about the fight. And as I sat there doing my thing - creating genius - the gorgeous people continued to file in. Actor Jon Voigt looked down at me briefly, as if to say, “My God you’re unappreciated.”
Actor Jake Gyllenhall walked by, and I saw Denzel Washington stroll through. Diane Kruger made it. Russell Westbrook was there, wearing skinny jeans, and taking pictures with a bunch of old white dudes I did not recognize.
FYI- The same is always true when you see these people up close. They’re just people, and they never look like they do in the magazine. They are thinner, and shorter. The exception is Shayk, which is Russian for “Tractor Beam of Hotness.” In person, she stands nearly 18-feet tall of nothing but curves that would make San Francisco’s Lombard Street look like a pencil.
There is Hollywood Hot, but Victoria’s Secret hot can kill.
This was the ultimate cool kids’ party, and how I squeezed in here does not matter. It was fine until a security guard insisted that I not sit on the floor. Not only did she not know who I am, but did not respect my craft. Again, improvisation is key. No way was I going to leave this scene right away.
Eventually, I was among the masses to cram in the tunnel to walk into an arena that was pumping with energy, and blaring a bass full of music. As I walked in, I glanced behind my left shoulder and there was my buddy, Pharrell. Yes, the hat gave it away.
The crowd surged into the arena and suddenly this thin, bearded man with an English accent pushes an older couple in front of me with a giant hug. “My dear friends!” as he pushed into me, oblivious to my importance. It was Sting, frontman of my favorite band of my youth, The Police. More about him in a second.
As the crowd continued to move, this absurdly good looking man in front of me stopped to take a picture or two with fans, who screamed, “Jaime!”. It was actor Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. No, they did not ask a selfie with me. Phone must have died.
The further I walked I saw UFC President Dana White, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, actor Dax Shepard, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and a host of other people who were so hot it could have been an issue of People magazine’s best looking issue.
Plenty of older heavy white guys with younger women, too, who I am guessing were not their daughters. Always amazing how love works in such scenarios.
Seats for this fight were at such a premium I was convinced that the media seating would be at the top of the arena. That and the vast majority of us media winners would be placed in media tent located directly outside of the MGM Grand Arena where we would watch the fight on a closed circuit TV.
Instead, there was a media section on the floor, ringside - old school style. I was very fortunate to not only cover this event (thank you, bosses), but even luckier to draw a seat ringside.
Later, as I went to my seat I noticed who was behind this section and I made eye contact with one particular gentlemen who either perpetually wears a frown, or was quietly expressing his displeasure at being seated behind my greatness. Mr. Jesse Jackson, I do apologize that your seat was behind mine and my contemporaries. The same goes for Magic Johnson, Michael Strahan and, yep, Sting - all of whom were somehow behind us.
Those people are big time, but none of them has a blog.
Not behind us and and hanging with what appeared to be the Mayweather family were actors Andre Braugher, and Jamie Foxx, who performed the National Anthem.
By the end of the fight, one tool slipped in who appeared to have a seat about as good as mine. Justin Bieber made it to cheer on his good buddy, Floyd.
At that point, the fight was pretty much over and Floyd was on his way to another win.
On this night, Floyd Mayweather was not the only winner. Claire Danes won, too.
(*) Sentence may not be entirely accurate.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760