Sports FAQ
Home / Mixed Martial Arts

UFC Eyes China and India

Loot2010-05-30 06:21:14 +0000 #1
Thought this was an interesting article....particularly about how they plan to stick with what works and use TUF as a vehicle to introduce the company/sport into new markets...


UFC president Dana White knows all about fans' typical reactions to his "big announcements."

Such was the case on Tuesday when White gathered the media in Toronto to outline the UFC's plans to establish an office in Canada.

But with the UFC's third office currently consisting solely of division head Tom Wright, White said the company is already eyeing a location for a new outpost: China.

"Right now, what we've used to go into Europe and even Australia is our U.K. office," White said. "But we're looking right now – and here I go jumping ahead of myself and saying stuff before we do it – but we're going to open an office in China."

While the UFC is rapidly closing in on regulation throughout the U.S. and Canada, important markets such as New York and Ontario have shown some resistance. But as the UFC continues its quest for global domination, White said he doesn't anticipate much backlash among international markets.

"The hardest part in launching this sport and launching the UFC was getting the U.S. done," White said. "We've got everybody done now except for New York, and we're on the budget in June. The rest of the world – in Asia, Asia understands martial arts. They've been practicing martial arts for thousands of years. It's going to be a lot easier."

The UFC already has a presence in the world's most-populous country after negotiating broadcast deals with Inner Mongolia Television and But White said the UFC is currently working diligently to expand that footprint.

"We're there now," White said. "Lorenzo has been in China for the last 10 days, and we're going to make it happen."

"It" includes future live shows in China, but the "virus" that is the UFC will first spread via the familiar vehicle of "The Ultimate Fighter." White said a Chinese version of the long-running reality competition series is likely to debut in the very near future.

"'The Ultimate Fighter' is what really kicks it off, and you build stars in all these different regions," White said. "We're working right now on 'The Ultimate Fighter Middle East' and 'The Ultimate Fighter Canada' that will be first. Then either before one of those or right at the same time will be 'The Ultimate Fighter China.'"

Once the UFC has its roots firmly planted in China, White said the world's largest fight promotion has its sights set firmly on another country with staggering demographics: India.

"In India, there's 300 million males aged 18-24," White said. "That's more people than are actually in the U.S."

The growth prospects for the UFC are astounding. As recently as 2007, the UFC held just 19 events. White said he envisions a day in the not-too-distant future when the company could hold as many as 100 events annually including single nights with multiple events on multiple continents.

"This is is a work in progress," White told ( ). "We bought this company, and we were doing five fights a year. If you would have told me six or seven years ago that we'd be doing 34 fights a year, I would have said, 'That's impossible. It'll never happen. That's crazy.' We're probably going to end up doing 100 fights a year.

"We could have a show [in the U.S.] on Saturday night and five more going on in five other countries. That's what's going to eventually happen. It's figuring this thing out, putting the pieces together, and like I said, it's a work in progress. But I'm telling you guys, I said it years ago, and I've been saying it – how big this thing is going to be. I think people are now really starting to realize how big this thing is really going to be."

And therein lies the ultimate challenge. White has brashly proclaimed that MMA – and more specifically, the UFC – will one day earn a spot as the biggest sport in the world. While many have questioned that claim (June's FIFA World Cup will demonstrate the draw of soccer worldwide), White believes his company is making progress that should force even non-believers to take note.

"The NBA is over in China right now, and there's a lot of people that are in to the NBA, but here in the U.S., in my opinion, there's nothing bigger than the NFL," White said. "People that don't even watch football watch the Super Bowl at the end of the season. I've been saying for years that we're going to be bigger than the NFL, and people were laughing at me. Well, it's starting to look like a reality now."

Loot2010-05-30 06:33:05 +0000 #2
Obviously White has a tendency to exaggerate, but as an MMA fan, you have to wonder about the possibilities...Even little-to-moderate success in places like Indian and China could be huge.

It's interesting to contemplate using TUF to play the same roles it did in the develop new talent and to entice huge numbers of young males to try their hands at the sport...
BulldogWrestler2010-05-30 06:35:26 +0000 #3
I can't imagine China being anything other than a huge failure. India MAAAAAAAAAAAAAYBE but probably in the same boat.
Madcap2010-05-30 06:36:39 +0000 #4
lol *imagines Dana doing business with the Chinese government*
Loot2010-05-30 06:44:13 +0000 #5

Originally Posted by BulldogWrestler

I can't imagine China being anything other than a huge failure. India MAAAAAAAAAAAAAYBE but probably in the same boat.

The odds are against them......but it's been like that every step of the way up to this point as well.
Onion2010-05-30 07:55:35 +0000 #6
The TUF Canda is supposedly happening within the year.

I bet they'll probably have J-Mac vs Loiseau or Cote as the coaches.



Other posts in this category