It's no secret that Filipinos love Mixed Martial Arts, as apart from Japan, the Philippines has the largest, most educated and mature fan base in Asia.
Filipino MMA promotions and fight teams are doing very well, both locally and internationally. Thousands and thousands of fans mobbed UFC fighters such as Georges St. Pierre, Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn, and Brandon Vera for mere open-workouts, and training sessions. It's a country that has always loved combat sports, and in turn has learned to love MMA, eventually turning into one of the hotbeds for Mixed Martial Arts in the region.
The growth of this audience throughout the years can be attributed to the local MMA promotions, as well as an excellent UFC TV deal in the country. They broadcast live events and other programming on cable TV, spreading awareness and helping educate and develop that ever expanding hardcore Filipino fan base.
UFC programming are found on 'Balls', which has quickly turned into one of the most popular channels in cable TV. They've already been seeing tremendous growth, but their parent company ABS-CBN has still decided to step things up a notch by bringing the sport to a much larger audience. A three-part special has been set up to introduce 'the fastest growing sport in the world' and to feature the biggest Filipino UFC star, in a show dubbed as 'Mark Munoz: The Ultimate Pinoy Fighter'.
What makes this so special? Well it's not going to be on just cable, as they will also be broadcasting this on free TV, reaching almost every single Filipino in the country. The first installment of the series does a great job of introducing the sport, and using Munoz as a perfect ambassador for MMA. For the next few episodes, a panel will also break down the key bouts in his career, leading up to his UFC on FUEL TV 4 headlining bout against Chris Weidman.
The most interesting thing to me is that they've tailored the program to appeal to the average Filipino, showing it mostly in the native language, and narrating it mainly to target a more casual audience. Filipinos in general are already crazy about the sport, but this can be a first step into taking MMA in the country to a whole different level.
For the next few weeks, they will be constantly reaching out and educating markets that have been relatively untapped thus far. This not only can establish Mark Munoz as a bigger and more legit mainstream star in the country, but it can also take MMA into newer heights.
The specials will be shown on ABS CBN which is the country's biggest network, and they will have multiple replays on Studio 23 (another channel on free TV), and on Balls (Cable). Check out the trailers after the jump.