The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the pinnacle of mixed martial arts in the U.S. Love it or hate it, it's a huge enterprise — Fox isn't paying $100 million per year for the current TV rights because nobody is watching. They stage fights all over the country, including Bridgestone Arena back in January.
We've always wondered exactly how they pick cities to host fights. Is it some kind of demographic matrix? A bushel basket of sophisticated market research?
It turns out, sometimes it's just because it's where the money guys like to eat ...
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told MMA Junkie that they're in Minneapolis this week because of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
"As we lay the year out, we like to move around, preferably to major metropolises and major cities," Fertitta told USA TODAY Sports. "A lot of it has to do with the availability of the arena and what else is going on in that city the time or that night to make sure we don't have a lot of competition to contend with. In this situation, we were trying to put this card together, and we were debating over two or three different locations on where to go.
"It was kind of funny, because we do a lot of analysis and we're running numbers and doing all kinds of different things, and we said, 'Sometimes you just have to go literally by gut feel. I'm a huge fan of Guy Fieri's show, 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,' and I had actually downloaded the app on my iPhone. I said, 'You know what we're going to do? I'm going to go on my app right now, and whichever city has more Guy Fieri locations, that's where we're going to do the fight.' That's literally how it came down."
So why were they in Nashville this winter? San Antonio Taco.
"It's funny, we've booked Nashville a couple of times because there's this great taco stand called SATCO, San Antonio Taco Company. We'll literally go to Nashville because that's where SATCO is. We're always searching out new, cool places to go. Between myself, Dana White and our general counsel, Laurence Epstein, we're always seeking out the next thing."
Not Catbird Seat. Not City House. Not [insert name of Nashville restaurant showing up in some national publication].
People are renting arenas based $2 tacos and buckets of beer on 21st Ave. If they ever try Mas Tacos, they'll ditch Vegas and move the headquarters here.