TWO summers ago, Larry Merchant made a twenty-dollar bet with one of the fruit vendors at his local Santa Monica farmers’ market and has been getting remunerated with free fruit ever since. Collection day tends to be Wednesday, the day he scours the stalls for blueberries, and all Merchant must do is simply show his face. “Whenever I come near his stand,” he said, “he wants to give me a pound of peaches.”
Back then the bet was a no-brainer for Merchant. It was his chance to capitalise on both the growing popularity of combat sports and his own expertise as a self-proclaimed ringside kibitzer. He didn’t know it would lead to a lifetime supply of fruit, but he knew it was a bet he wouldn’t lose.
“I’ll take Conor McGregor,” said the vendor. “Twenty bucks says he wins.”