The UFC held it’s first event in Macao in December of last year, headlined by a Middleweight spectacle between Cung Le and Rich Franklin. The bout ended by brutal KO, in favor of Le, in what was a successful event. Marc Fischer, UFC’s Asia chief, told in.reuters.com about the UFC’s plans in China:
“The event in Macau was a tremendous success and I think it was an eye-opener for both the fans and the UFC, We’ll be bringing at least one live fight event to the Singapore Marina Bay Sands, with the first one coming early first quarter next year. We’ll have well-known fighters on the main card but we want to fill the card with more Asian fighters. We really want to build a base and… create more relevance with local audiences.”
With the increasing popularity of MMA worldwide, this latest international move is likely to be one of many. Fischer also revealed talks of events in other Asian countries, and talked about TUF: China:
“We are still at the investment stage but we do see tremendous long-term potential here. TUF China is a watershed, we believe it’s going to do more for growing the brand and the sport of MMA among the Greater China audience than any other programme to date.”
“In terms of making money, I’m sure Asia is going to be very fruitful but right now we still consider it a building phase, but this is a huge step in that build.”
“Seoul and Jakarta, no firm plans yet but we are in discussions in both of those cities, Manila is in our sights, we’re in advanced talks with Tokyo and I guess to round it out would be Bangkok. There’s lots of interest throughout the region but those are the key cities for 2014.”
With the great success of the UFC in the USA and UK, comes a better understanding of how and when to introduce regular events. The business plan they have in mind for Asian UFC events is probably miles clearer than the ones in place for say UFC 50. I expect to see the UFC trake the Asian population by storm, if it really is accepted there then it could be a huge earner.
“We’ll be bringing at least one live fight event to the Singapore Marina Bay Sands, with the first one coming early first quarter next year. We’ll have well-known fighters on the main card but we want to fill the card with more Asian fighters. We really want to build a base and… create more relevance with local audiences.”
Having fighters like Yushin Okami and Korean Zombie will help with appealing to the Eastern audiences, and the fact that Martial Arts originated from these areas should certainly assist in the long run.