UFC CEO Talks Expansion Into India

Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images

The UFC announced last week that they will be filming a new season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show in India, featuring a cast of all Indian (or of Indian descent) fighters. Fertitta recently explained some of the thinking behind the decision to expand into India to MMA Fighting.

"That's a market that we think has a lot of potential, but we are literally starting from ground zero," Fertitta said at a recent media luncheon. "People really don't know anything about this sport or UFC. But the thing that's interesting about it is, we look at it kind of similar to Brazil. We look at, they're obviously both part of the BRIC nations, strong economies, a lot of natural resources, and up-and-coming young educated class of people that are starting to emerge.

"When you look at the trends of what's going on, and what I'll call kind of ‘youth culture,' and the way they're consuming entertainment, that younger generation is kind of moving away from traditional Bollywood and they're consuming more of western Hollywood type product.

"The WWE is very popular there, and I think when the consumer first sees it, they're going to think it's WWE. I think a lot of people over there think the WWE's actually real, believe it or not, just because they haven't seen what is real. And when they see the UFC, they're going to be like, ‘Wow, that's real and the WWE is not real.'

"In order to really build a sustainable, long-term business, you have to have product in the market."

"We've got to bring the product there, but then we've also got to get past the fact that we kind of have this hit-and-run strategy. We'll (bring an event there) and we'll kill it, but then we're not back until when? I don't even know, we don't even have anything scheduled. So how do we build a sustainable program with fight series in primetime in relevant cities that make sense on an ongoing basis? So, for instance, working on the gameplan for next year in Brazil, outside of just the pay-per-views, we're probably going to do five or six fights there. Some kind of Ultimate Fight Night things, and that's how we built a sustainable program here in the U.S."

One factor that the UFC is banking on helping the UFC sell MMA to an Indian audience is the popularity of their traditional Kushti wrestling. After the jump we've got a couple of videos of Kushti competition as well as audio of the complete Fertitta interview.

Those who subscribe to the MMA Nation YouTube channel saw these videos a couple of days back when Zombie Prophet first compiled them.



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