(Gobbling down buffalo wings = UFC on FOX. Being excited about iceberg lettuce = watching Fight Pass GIFs on a late-’90s Toshiba Satellite.)
By Matt Saccaro
Food is the most underrated, undiscussed aspect of MMA fandom. Watching other people fight requires constant sustenance. The calories you burn shadowboxing with your shirt off during commercials don’t replenish themselves, you know.
As with other aspects of the sport, eating at a high level requires loads of nuance—more than many fans are aware of. We’re experts on the topic, though, so we figured we’d drop a little knowledge today.
First off, you should only eat certain kinds of food. I missed the Donald Cerrone punch that nearly KO’d Edson Barboza because I was cutting a chimichanga. The lesson learned? Do not eat food requiring too much attention.
Food is to enhance your MMA viewing, not replace it. The food makes the event festive, but is not the festivity in and of itself, like Thanksgiving turkey. The chimichanga I ate was delicious, but cumbersome and unwieldy. I had to spend time looking down—away from the computer and television—to cut it into a more manageable size. Even then, I had to be extremely careful when lifting it into my mouth with a fork. I didn’t want chicken, cheese, refried beans, and other greasy goodness spilling onto my keyboard.
Which reminds me, if you’re going to be live-tweeting or live-blogging a fight card, you can’t eat something that makes your fingers gross and sticky. That means no ribs, and no burgers that are dripping with ketchup or other condiments. I thought Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos might be safe one Bellator event, only to find that the Cool Ranch dust was all over my fingertips. My jokes were seconds late—an eternity on twitter—and the CagePotato twitter lost out on precious engagement statistics.
An additional thing to consider: Never eat something that will give you diarrhea. I can’t stress that enough. You don’t want to spend $60 on a PPV just to wind up giving the bathroom a new paint job and missing all the in-cage action.
So what foods are safe?
We at CagePotato prefer simple sandwiches from local reputable delicatessens. A turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese can be eaten while you look forwards at the TV screen. Pizza is alright too, though if your “ristorante” uses sauce that’s a little too acidic, you might find yourself with heart burn or indigestion while you watch the fights. Chinese? It depends. We’re not partial to anything that requires consistent looking down. If you’re eating chicken and broccoli, you have to keep looking down to put some on your fork. The more times you look down, the more likely it is you’ll miss something spectacular. Burgers can be alright so long as they’re not big and messy, though we’re not terribly partial to them. If you’re a skilled burger eater though, maybe you could give them a shot.
But we’ve only just scratched the surface. There’s still another layer of analysis and thought that must go into your choice of MMA food: What kind of card are you watching?
In the early days of MMA, you could splurge when a PPV came around because they were an event rather than a nuisance. In 2014, when oversaturation has plagued the sport to the point where the UFC holds two cards in the same day, you can’t splurge. You must consider your options carefully, and purchase food according to the level of what you’re watching. We’ve separated it into tiers.
Fight Pass Exclusive Card: DiGiorno, Tombstone, or Red Barron frozen pizzas. Yes, Fight Pass cards are usually this bad.
UFC on FOX Sports 2 Card: Dominoes, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, or other cardboard but still fun pizzas. Subway for sandwiches. McDonald’s or any of the usual suspects if you insist on burgers.
UFC on FOX Sports 1 Card: Five Guys, Smash Burger, or any other “real” burger chain. The “real” pizza place that sucks but stays in business because they deliver and the good pizza place doesn’t. If you’re going to deploy Chinese food, do it on a card like this. Go to the deli but get a standard sandwich lacking grandeur.
PPV with a garbage-ass main card: Save your fucking money and don’t buy any special or fun food to celebrate. Maybe get some ice cream if there’s a parlor near you and the weather permits it. Don’t spend extra cash on toppings unless you’re bringing six figures to the bank every year.
PPV with a worthy main card: Splurge. Experiment. Do whatever the hell you want. Maybe get a specialty sandwich at the deli that you normally wouldn’t get. Maybe try some Mexican takeout so long as it’s not too complicated to eat or will make you crap. It’s rare enough to have a great PPV these days, so go wild but please try to stay within the above guidelines to optimize enjoyment of the UFC PPV.
Next on FoodPotato — The 22 Buffalo Wild Wings Sauces, And Their UFC Fighter Equivalents