The UFC’s global expansion looks like it has truly reached the next level, having introduced their new digital network ‘UFC Fight pass’ and declared their intent for global marketing tactics. A lot of focus has been put on the Asian markets, especially with the new season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: China’.
Abu Dhabi may have had a rocky past with the UFC (see Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia), but it appears that is all behind them with the news of a new broadcasting deal. Abu Dhabi media exec Saif Ghobash released the following statement:
"As per the terms of the agreement, Abu Dhabi sports channels will bring wide-spread UFC coverage to North Africa, as well as exclusive coverage to all countries in the Middle East; broadcasting across ADM's free-to-air sports channels and encrypted platform. Coverage will also broadcast across Abu Dhabi TV Network's online and mobile sites and through regional IPTV networks."
One interesting factoid relating to this situation is that Zuffa is actually 10% owned by an Abu Dhabi media company called ‘Flash’; this partnership would have mutual benefits it seems.
The UFC’s last appearance in Abu Dhabi was the lacklustre UFC 112, so I’d expect an absolute blockbuster event in their next outing. They owe the fans in the Middle East some sort of payback, and it should come in the form of an awesome card-in my opinion.
The three year deal does little more than reiterate the UFC’s growing domination of not only the MMA market, but the global sports market. This year is proving to be very fruitful for the world’s biggest MMA promotion.