TORONTO - A few of the famous faces in the crowd at UFC 140 quickly became fans of mixed martial arts.
The Toronto Maple Leafs players and staff attended the event at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night and were impressed with what they saw.
"It was awesome," Leafs centre Tyler Bozak said Monday. "After you see it, it's pretty crazy."
Added defenceman Luke Schenn: "The place was rocking. They've got the tunes cranked up and it's unbelievable how much people love the fighting and how passionate they are about it."
Naturally, the Leafs had prime seats close to the octagon for the show. Many of them marvelled at the athleticism on display.
The players also noticed that the crowd of 18,303 was a little different than the type they usually play in front of.
"I think the fanbase might be a little bit more rowdy than other sporting events," said Bozak. "Any time you see fighting and guys going at it, I think the adrenaline gets going a little more throughout the building. It was pretty cool to see.
"I still don't know how those guys get themselves to go into that cage and beat the piss out of one another. It's nuts."
Schenn has been known to drop the gloves on the ice from time to time, but noted that it's nothing like what the UFC fighters go through.
"When you get into a hockey, it's kind of spur of the moment and just happens," he said. "It's usually a few seconds and it's done. Obviously, there's still the risk of getting hurt but going into that octagon you're preparing for a match for months.
"You've got to be so focused."
He's not considering a career change.
"I couldn't imagine going in there," Schenn said with a laugh.