The UFC’s busy January schedule takes fight fans to two of the best cities in the country: Nashville and Chicago. To get the action started, FIGHT!’s managing editor and lifelong Tennessee resident Jim Casey takes on FIGHT!’s lead writer and Chicago resident T.R. Foley in a duel of city supremacy.
UFC on FX 1
January 20, 2012
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller
Both fighters came within a frog’s hair of a lightweight title shot, but Guillard was clipped by Joe Lauzon and Miller was shorn by Ben Henderson. The winner of this brouhaha is back in the lightweight title talks. The loser will be watching the gate in 2012.
The Pancake Pantry (thepancakepantry.com)
Featuring “uncommonly good” pancakes like Sweet Potato and Swiss Chocolate, The Pancake Pantry has been serving up tallstacks since 1961. Don’t let the long line out the door deter you, The Pantry never runs out. If you forgot your cojones on this trip, the chef will even make you a crepe.
Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge (tootsies.net)
Located in the heart of Nashville’s Broadway strip, Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge has been serving up cold beer and rockin’ country music (live, of course) since 1960. Just keep an eye out for the famous purple building, you can’t miss it. If you like hot girls in cowboy boots—and who doesn’t—this is the place to be.
Ryman Auditorium (ryman.com)
The original home of the Grand Ole Opry, the historic Ryman Auditorium is the Holy Land of music lovers. The Ryman hosts daily tours, but if you want the Nashville experience, catch a live show— the spirit of Johnny Cash implores you.
After being called a “worthless scoundrel, poltroon, and coward” by lawyer Charles Dickinson in the Nashville Review in 1806, future U.S. President Andrew Jackson challenged the expert marksman to a duel. After Dickinson fired the first shot, which lodged inches from Jackson’s heart, “Old Hickory” returned fire, hitting Dickinson in the chest. The wound proved fatal and the smack-talking lawyer bled to death.
UFC on Fox 2
January 28, 2012
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans
This matchup of former Big Ten wrestlers will have the winner edging closer to a title shot. The contest will be decided by the superiority of Evans’ hand speed or the unique blend of control and punishment delivered by Davis’ groundwork.
The Wiener’s Circle (wienercircle.net)
Chicago was built on the success of slaughterhouses like the Union Stock Yards. Today, you can eat that legacy by enjoying a Chicago Hot Dog at Wiener’s Circle, complete with onions, piccalilli, celery salt, tomato, a short pepper, and a pickle on a poppy seed bun and a squirt of mustard.
Green Door Tavern (greendoorchicago.com)
The best bar in the city will always be a bleacher seat at Wrigley Field, but with the Lovable Losers out of season, second best goes to the Green Door Tavern. Built in 1872, the Green Door is a former speakeasy that now caters equally to PBR drinking regulars as well as the slim-armed debutantes of the nightclub community.
The Second City Theater (secondcity.com)
Former Chicago denizens include Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Chris Farley, all of whom took the main stage at The Second City. See a show, but know that the food is shit and the beer service is slow. For the best pre-show drink, hit up the Old Town Ale House across North Avenue—there’s even a naked Sarah Palin painting.
The World’s first Playboy Club was opened in 1960 at 116 E. Walton St. in downtown Chicago. Playboy later went global with that first fleshy actualization of lusty centerfolds serving booze and checking jackets, but few clubs remain. If you still want some bunnies, head to London or Las Vegas, but check back with Chicago—a new club is already under construction.