Off to Montreal

Out of all the cities I’ve visited in my years covering MMA, I’d have to say that Montreal is my favorite. And it’s not even close, really.

The “old” part of Montreal is incredible, with businesses and entertainment spots dug out of the ground underneath very old cobblestone streets. It feels like what I imagine an old European town feels like.

I also love the food. Schwartz’s is this tiny hole in the wall place, but they’re world famous for their smoked meat (brisket) sandwiches. I’ve been to Montreal a handful of times, but it wasn’t until my last trip in November that I actually went to Schwartz’s. It was life-changing. Not really, but you get the point. It’s an incredible sandwich, and I’m pretty sure I’ll hit it up at least twice this week.

I’m headed back to Montreal today, and I’ll be there through Sunday. I’ll post blog entries and photos on here, for the 2-3 of you who are still reading this on a regular basis.

Mixed Martial Arts, Travel

Upcoming Travel Plans

Here’s what I’ve got coming up in the next month or so:

Nov. 18-22 — Las Vegas: I’m heading here for WEC 44, UFC 106 and all the festivities surrounding both cards. I’m very much looking forward to 106, even without Lesnar/Carwin on the card. I’ve also got a bunch of camp visits planned and will be doing video interviews with a bunch of fighters. Hopefully I’ll have the will power to stay away from the slot machines for most of this trip. I think I can. I think I can.

Dec. 4-6 — Las Vegas: Back to Las Vegas for the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, featuring Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander. I normally wouldn’t cover smaller events like this one, but Kimbo fighting automatically makes it a big event for our readers and thus a big event for me.

Dec. 11-13 — Memphis: Heading here for UFC 107, with a main event of BJ Penn against Diego Sanchez. This card will be fun, despite the fact that the one fighter I really wanted to see (Todd Duffee) is off the card with an injury. Still, I’ve never been to Memphis, so this will be exciting.

Dec. 18-20 — San Jose: Going to northern California is always fun. This will be for the Strikeforce event featuring a Cung Le/Scott Smith main event. I covered my first Strikeforce show last weekend (Fedor/Rogers in Chicago) and had a good time. The Strikeforce folks are first-class people and they run a good operation.

Dec. 30-Jan 3 — Las Vegas: Yes, another Vegas trip. I’ll be attending the World MMA Awards and UFC 108. There may be a family vacation to Vegas mixed in here somewhere, which means I could ultimately end up being there for 10 days. Not really looking forward to that prospect, I must say.

Mixed Martial Arts, Travel

Recently Traveled

Here’s where I’ve been recently:

Dallas: Made this road trip for UFC 103 in September. I was busy the entire weekend and wasn’t able to do or see much. Besides, what is there to do in Dallas? Dallas sucks.

San Antonio: Another road trip, this time for a WEC event. I ended up doing a “Man vs. Food” tour, where I tried a 4 pound cinnamon roll and the Four Horsemen burger. The burger is covered with Ghost Chile peppers, the hottest pepper in the world, and it was ridiculous. Just a bad decision all around and one that I immediately regretted. There was a silver lining, however. My dad loves hot sauces. LOVES hot sauce, the hotter the better. I got home from San Antonio and immediately ordered him a bottle of Dave’s Private Reserve 2009, a limited-edition hot sauce made with pure ghost chile pepper extract.

The girls and I gave him the hot sauce the day before his birthday. Knowing my Dad like we do, we just KNEW he would take the hot sauce and pour a few drops on a cracker or chip to test it out. Sure enough, he did just that, despite our warnings. Everything looked fine for about five seconds, and then the heat kicked in. He turned red, started sweating and immediately went to the fridge to pour himself a large glass of milk. We finally found something hot enough to bother my dad, which I consider mission accomplished.

Los Angeles: Went here for UFC 104 in September. I met up with Anthony and had a great weekend. I’m not really a big fan of Los Angeles, but it’s certainly an interesting place. I stayed at a small (but really nice) hotel in Beverly Hills. Also saw Johnny Depp walking around by the Staples Center. Oh, and I saw the world’s largest “Thriller” dance, with thousands of people all made up like characters from the Michael Jackson video. That was fun.

Chicago: Just got back from this trip for Strikeforce. I like Chicago. It’s a nice town. I ate some great pizza, but didn’t do much else as I was busy all weekend.

Upcoming trips: Las Vegas (four times between now and January), Memphis, Virginia and San Jose.