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Food Network star Guy Fieri

Jeff Christensen, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

UFC fights over local eateries

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER
  • Star Tribune
  • October 4, 2012 - 11:20 PM

The staging of a martial arts match at Target Center next month supposedly was a gut decision -- literally.

In a Twitter post, Lorenzo Fertitta, the CEO of the Ultimate Fighting Championship tour, said that the reason he chose Target Center to host the Oct. 5 event, titled UFC on FX 5, was that the TV series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" has praised so many Twin Cities restaurants. "I knew Minneapolis was a good spot for #UFConFX thanks to @GuyFieri," the tweet said, referring to the show's host, Guy Fieri.

The post included a link to an article on the corporation's website, www.ufc.com, in which Fieri gushes about the local cuisine. "You're gonna need an extra three or four days when you go for the UFC fights just to check out the great food in Minneapolis," he says.

Fertitta then took to the Internet to say that when it came time to pick a location for the televised event, he told his staff: "'Whichever city has more Guy Fieri locations, that's where we're going to do the fight.' That's literally how it came down."

We might have had a leg-up in the competition. The TV series was created by David Page and his Plymouth-based Page Productions. His knowledge of the local dining scene likely has something to do with the fact that 21 Twin Cities restaurants have been featured on the show. They run the alphabetical gamut from Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown to the Wienery on the West Bank.

Fertitta plans to check out some of them for himself. "When we get to Minnesota, I'll hit two or three of these places because I like that kind of food," he promised. "I'm not a fancy-food guy."

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