Las Vegan Roy Nelson knows his last fight was not the most entertaining 15 minutes his fans have endured even though he was able to slog through Jared Rosholt’s backpedaling and earn a victory.
It didn’t take long for Nelson to reward his fans with some extra entertainment, however.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran heavyweight hosts about six to eight movie screenings per year, free to his fans. One such event happened to be scheduled for last Wednesday, just days after the victory over Rosholt.
“It’s a way to hang out with fans and do something a little different,” he said after watching “Zoolander 2” at the Galaxy theatre in Green Valley with a group of fans who registered for the screening through his social media accounts. “Fans want to be entertained. That’s one of the reasons they like the fight business.”
Of course, it was nice to sit and watch a comedy after a win. There may have been a different mood around the theatre had Nelson lost the fight, or even worse, been knocked out.
Nelson has endured that situation before, but didn’t think there was much risk this time around.
“The only time something like that matters is if you feel your face is going to be disfigured. I didn’t see that happening in this fight,” Nelson said with a laugh. “I have a strong fan base, so I know win or lose, it will be fine. We can just go watch a movie.”
Of course, the events serve as a marketing opportunity for studios that get to screen movies to a loyal fan base before a film is released and have fighters like Nelson push their fans to promote the films on social media.
Nelson, who calls himself a “movie guy,” typically screens movies he’s excited to see. He has also been able to discover films that ordinarily would have slipped his consciousness.
The 39-year-old Cimarron graduate pointed to “Guardians of the Galaxy” as one such film.
“Fans really wanted to see it and I had no idea what it was,” Nelson said of a movie he ended up enjoying after screening with his fans.
Nelson said the opportunity to interact with fans has been a rewarding experience, even when things get a bit odd.
One fan approached him after the movie on Wednesday and requested Nelson place a phone call to the fan’s father, who was unable to make it out to the movie.
Despite those types of interesting encounters, Nelson hopes to continue participating in the screenings.
“It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but the next thing you know it became pretty regular,” he said. “It’s about giving back to the fans and the studio saw I actually put some thought and effort into doing these instead of just doing it for my friends and having a night out.”
He also plans to get back to work in the cage very soon.
Nelson had been called out by fellow heavyweight Derrick Lewis earlier in the day on social media and had responded with his belief it would be a fun fight.
He said the fight is an intriguing one.
“I opened up Twitter and he had called me out. He said he’s not a track star and I totally agree,” Nelson said, referencing the fact Lewis promised not to run around as Rosholt had the previous week. “He is a fighter and he comes to fight, especially compared to my last fight. Everybody’s pushing it now. I like it.”
Nelson said he would like the fight to happen at UFC 197 on April 23 at MGM Grand. A win would be a huge boost to Nelson in the heavyweight rankings and move him another rung up the charts in pursuit of a late-career title shot.
Now that would make a great movie.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj