Panther Tracks

Ron Rivera shows off Cowfish, football at UNCC for TV show airing Thursday

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stars in an episode of “Fluffy Breaks Even,” which airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on Fuse.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stars in an episode of “Fluffy Breaks Even,” which airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on Fuse. Fluffy Breaks Even

In an episode of “Fluffy Breaks Even” that airs Thursday, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera introduces comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and his friends to Charlotte, the Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar and football at UNC Charlotte.

Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere and safety Marcus Ball also make an appearance to help Rivera with drills during the show.

The goofy series is about Iglesias, who used to weigh 450 pounds, and a handful of his comedian friends traveling the country looking for good places to eat and then workout to counterbalance the meals they ate. The Charlotte episode airs 10 p.m. Thursday on Fuse.

The show, filmed in early March, starts out with Iglesias on his tour bus soliciting suggestions from fans in Charlotte about where to eat. “I see you’re in Charlotte. Looking for a unique place to eat? I got you covered. Hustle up to #Cowfish #FusionInfusion,” Rivera tweets at Iglesias.

The group meets at Cowfish in SouthPark, where co-owner Alan Springate serves them something called a “Hunka Hunka Burger,” along with a Firecracker Roll, Tropical Storm Roll and Burgushi, which is basically a cheeseburger in sushi form.

“It’s like East meets West, John Wayne meets Bruce Lee,” Iglesias says of Cowfish.

The group talks about Charlotte, about how Rivera is one of few Latino head coaches in pro sports, about the Panthers’ Spanish language announcers and about plans for the next day’s workout.

“There really are a lot of great places to go eat. It’s a nice city, a great community with good people. There really is a big responsibility you have not just as head coach but also in the community,” Rivera says of Charlotte.

The show periodically interjects “Fluffy Fun Facts,” like how Charlotte got its nickname (“The Queen City” came from Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, wife of King George III, for example) and the comedians and Rivera poking fun at each other (“Not everyone can rock a vest like that, you’re still living in 1985,” Iglesias says to Rivera.)

The next day, the show is filmed at UNC Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson Stadium for drills that Benwikere and Ball assist with, and a scrimmage pitting Team Fluffy against the White Skins, which is a handful of UNC Charlotte staffers and coaches.

The show concludes with Fluffy scoring a safety for the other team.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer