Luke Rockhold may be experiencing a bit of down time from his training since his last fight, but he hasn’t been sitting idle.
Rockhold broke his toe in his fight with Tim Boetsch at UFC 172 in April, but he’s not exactly complaining. He won the fight via first-round submission.
And this weekend, Rockhold is in Las Vegas, not only for UFC 173: Barão vs. Dillashaw, but also to appear alongside UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste at the opening of their photo shoots at the Optical Panacea gallery inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
It wasn’t just any old photo shoot for Rockhold. Optical Panacea is a gallery featuring the work of his friend, photographer Sam Hon, and it is co-owned by another friend, UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber.
“I’m friends with Sam and Urijah, and I’ve just seen a lot of the work they’ve done,” Rockhold told MMAWeekly.com about the genesis of his involvement. “He did (Daniel) Cormier before me and it’s just really interesting. The sequences he puts together are just so much different than anything I’ve seen before.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into everything Sam does. It’s pretty amazing, how he puts these together. He did Anderson Silva and created the guy that Anderson is fighting completely out of water.”
The sequences that Hon does are spectacular. You can see many of them on the Optical Panacea website.
It’s more than the technical aspect of Hon’s work and his friendship that attracted Rockhold. The way that Hon captures the character of his subjects had a lot to do with enticing him.
“Sam, with each person, he tries to capture their personality and a little bit about who they are and where they’re from,” explained Rockhold. “Every picture is a little different, a different kind of feel to it.
“It’s just different than your average picture. It captures a story in one picture.”
And aside from the final product, it sounds like Rockhold had a lot of fun actually doing the shoot, since it wasn’t just the usual fight pose or magazine cover shot.
He actually had a very active role in the shoot, literally.
“I’ve been involved in some photo shoots before, but we kind of took it to a whole other level with this,” said Rockhold. “We went to the beach and I’m doing tornado kicks off of big logs and rocks and superman punches; just crazy stuff. A little more fun than just a photo shoot, but to have all the action in it and us working together to create all these cool action shots and then to watch him morph the whole thing together is pretty awesome.”
Rockhold and Celeste were on hand at Optical Panacea on Friday to open the display of their artwork, but if you’re in Vegas and missed Friday’s appearance, you’re not out of luck. The duo will once again be at Optical Panacea on Saturday from Noon to 2 p.m. PT to sign autographs and take photos with fans.