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After a long day of the district softball tournament, I went to Wild Rivers Bar and Grill in East Wenatchee for a couple of cold ones and dinner to end the day. As I arrived, I noticed a few of the television screens showing the Emanuel Navarrete-Isaac Dogboe rematch, which was the co-feature bout to the Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas title fight.
Both the Navarrete-Dogboe, and main event were entertaining. I munched on my roast beef sandwich and consumed my Bud Light as Navarrete earned the late stoppage. I was halfway through my second brew when Berchelt overwhelmed his opponent en route to a sixth-round knockout.
It had been a couple of months since I went to a bar or restaurant to watch a fight card—in March I ate dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Jon Jones-Anthony Smith UFC light heavyweight title match. The one to two times a month I go to watch fight cards is a contrast to when I lived in Cheney a couple of years earlier.
When I worked for the Cheney Free Press, I would spend Friday or Saturday night at a local bar, like the Monterey Pub and Grub or Goofy’s, to watch a UFC Fight Night, or Bellator MMA event.
For a pay per view event featuring a superstar like former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, or titleholder Conor McGregor, I would make the trip to Spokane and watch a match at the Globe.
While most Cheney bartenders knew my name—due to reading my credit card so many times or knowing my face from the Free Press_some learned that I was a combat sports fan and would ask which channels were airing the fights. One of my fondest memories was spending my 29th birthday enjoying a Guiness and Glory kickboxing—later known as Glory World Series.
Going to a local bar or restaurant can be a fun alternative to watching a combat sports card at home for a couple of different reasons. First, it can save a fan some money.
Folks will usually shell out between $60-$80 for a fight card at home.
This doesn’t mean fans should be cheap and just order water and munch on free peanuts. Businesses pay thousands of dollars to air these bouts. The least a fan could do is buy a couple of beers and some food.
When I watch a fight at a restaurant or bar, I will usually spend about $25-$30 on food and drinks, as well as $5-$10 on a cover fee.
Another reason to watch a fight card at a bar is you will usually be in a sea of fight fans, especially if it’s a major fight.
Some of my favorite fight-related memories are watching bouts with complete strangers. One gal and I shared some laughs and drinks as we watched our favorite fighters lose.
Although meeting new fight fans is nice, I’ve also utilized a bar or restaurant to expose my friends to combat sports. Even if your friends aren’t into combat sports, they can still enjoy their favorite entrees and drinks.
Then there are moments where non-UFC friends were engrossed in the action.
During the McGregor-Khabib Nurmagomedov post-fight shenanigans—where one guy jumped into the octagon and started attacking the Irish fighter—my friend Jas was one of many fans who watched the events take place. As I drove her home, she explained she wasn’t interested in the UFC, but would watch the (insert curse word here) out of the post-fight press conference.
Watching a pay per view at home can be fun, especially if you have good food and great friends to share your evening with, but there’s nothing wrong with venturing outside of your home and watching combat sports on a different stage.