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FIGHTLAND

A Fighter Weighed In Holding the Guitar Pantera Made Famous

A strange guitar for a strange pre-fight custom.

by Jeff Harder
Jan 8 2016, 6:34pm

Weigh-ins before MMA fights usually look like absurdist fashion shows anyway: Semi-delirious fighters expose their gaunt and temporarily dehydrated bodies partly as an administrative obligation, partly as an advertisement for themselves. But sometimes, if we're lucky, weigh-ins are venues for displays of the truly ridiculous.

In 1999, back when whichever side of the 200-pound demarcation line a UFC fighter fell decided whether he was a lightweight or a heavyweight, a fully clothed Frank Shamrock barely reached 198 pounds when he weighed in to fight Tito Ortiz; when he stepped off the scale, he took a book out of his back pocket. At a Hero's event in 2007, a track suit-clad Kazushi Sakuraba initially missed his weight limit, then he pulled out the Xbox 360 console he was hiding underneath. And, of course, there's the Tom Lawlor of the pre-Reebox-era, whose scripted pieces of performance art paid tribute to the Just Bleed guy and Dan Severn.

But yesterday afternoon, we broke new ground in the world of weigh-ins curiosities: a fighter stepped on the scale holding the most shred-worthy guitar you could ever hold.

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Weigh ins were interesting CES MMA
Posted by Josh"Trainn"Diekmann on Thursday, January 7, 2016

The 239-pound fighter being implored by officials to take the guitar off is Josh Diekmann. He's a brawling heavyweight and Bellator MMA vet who's been around the block through more than a decade in the sport, and tonight, the Connecticut-based fighter fights his 23rd professional bout against Ashley Gooch at CES MMA XXXII at Rhode Island's Twin River Casino.

The guitar in question is a Dean ML, a 24-fret model with a body that's a mutant crossbreed between a Flying V and an Explorer. To put it mildly, the guitar had a niche audience of players after its introduction in the 1970s, probably due to the fact that it looks more like a weapon than an instrument. But the Dean ML enjoyed a second act in the hands "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, the pink-bearded riff-slinger for Pantera, the greatest metal band of all time. Until his infamous on-stage murder in 2004, the Dean ML was Abbott's ax of choice, a suitable vehicle for the chunky palm-muting, slippery blues-based licks, and artful noise on Pantera's 1990s gems Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven.

Diekmann's guitar is more restrained than Darrell's. The sunburst finish is a classier choice than Dimebag's signature graphics depicting lightning bolts, pot leaves, and—as a cringe-worthy homage to Pantera's southern heritage—Confederate flags. There's no whammy bar. But the guitar isn't for decoration: before weighing in, Diekmann put it to good use.

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Pre weigh in zen. Trainn getting his groove back. Come to the weigh ins at Twin River Casino in RI at 4!
Posted by Josh"Trainn"Diekmann on Thursday, January 7, 2016