The MMA Play

UFC 175: Weidman v Machida

Ronda Rousey lost. Even if you aren’t into mixed martial arts (MMA), that was the big news in sports last weekend, as Holly Holm became the UFC’s new women’s bantamweight champ by pulling off what’s being labeled one of the biggest sports upsets ever. If you’re an MMA fan, it was a fight that you probably wanted to see but maybe didn’t, because of the high cost of a pay-per-view ticket.

The big UFC cards have turned into good drawing events for casinos and bars around town, so you can always find a place to watch for $10-$20, but there are a few options that stand out. In fact, there are three—all at gentlemen’s clubs.

The first is Sapphire. It costs $20 to watch there, which doesn’t sound like anything special, except that you also get fed. The Sapphire viewing parties (including Monday and Thursday Night Football) always include a buffet that’s a notch above what you get at any of the other parties, and it’s a vibrant scene.

Up the street, Déjà Vu is one of two venues that show the fights for free. They bring in pizzas and the drinks are typically $5 or less (I can’t give you an exact figure, as this place changes its drink prices every week). Free viewing, free pizza and cheap drinks—that’s a heck of a combo. But there’s a flaw: the club doesn’t open till 7 p.m. That’s usually early enough to catch all of the main card, but you have to watch the preliminary fights elsewhere, and the late start suppresses crowd counts and detracts from the party atmosphere.

The best play is the other free-viewing party at Crazy Horse III. This place has it figured out. During the fights the whole club transforms into a hyper-sports bar, with two distinct viewing areas. The first is in the main room, where the stages continue to run with music blaring and dancers performing as usual. For some it’s the best of both worlds. But if you want to concentrate on the fighting, there’s a separate lounge area lined with elevated big screens where you can watch and even hear the audio from the telecast.

Dozens of pizzas are brought in, and slices are distributed at no charge, and there’s even a deal on the drinks. During the fights a bucket of five beers is $20, and it’s not just Bud and Miller Light—you can get Heineken, Stella, Beck’s and more, and you can mix and match in the same bucket.

Everyone in the club, including the employees, is into the action, and you almost forget that you’re in a strip joint. By the time the fights are over, the place is packed to the rafters. Hit the road if you want, or stick around for the more traditional Crazy Horse III entertainment.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and