Urijah Faber Wins Farewell Fight

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SACRAMENTO -- A packed Golden 1 Center got to its feet during Saturday's UFC Fight Night as Urijah Faber won his final fight.

"The coolest thing about this experience was how it started for me," Faber told the press. "I was fighting in an Indian Casino in tennis shoes when it was illegal in California."

"The California Kid" has come a long way and, at 37, isn't such a kid anymore.

Back in those first days, Faber got $200 a fight, and another $200 for a win. For the win in his last professional bought, he got significantly more.

It's hard to imagine a better stage for Faber's final fight than the Golden 1 Center. He helped put his hometown, Sacramento, on the mixed martial arts map, and his gym, Team Alpha Male, is producing some of the UFC's top contenders -- fighters like Page VanZant and Cody Garbrandt, whose fighting for a championship in a couple weeks.

"What he did paved the way for fighters like us," Garbrandt said.

In a sport that was dominated by slow, thundering heavy-weights, Faber came in and established the value of lighter-weight fighters in the MMA game.

One of Faber's teammates said that he made short guys cool again.

"I'm not short, first off," Faber laughed in response.

And if Faber opened MMA's eye to a whole new pool of talent, he also did a lot to open Sacramento's eyes to his sport.

"Urijah Faber has been one of my favorite fighters since he was in the WEC," said one fan while buying a UFC Sacramento T-shirt.

With his good looks and tan, "The California Kid" has always been marketable.

"He's the cutest one too, so that helps," said another fan in line.

But Saturday Faber said goodbye to the octagon in a victory against Brad Pickett, and a final fight in front of his hometown crowd.

"Its perfect. It really is," Faber said.

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