In early 2013, UFC president Dana White said he hoped that the UFC would hold its first card in Russia during that calendar year. Almost halfway through 2014 that market has yet to see a live UFC event.
According to White, things are not moving as fast as the UFC hoped they would in Russia. Speaking to the media following the May 10 Fight Night card in Cincinnati, White admitted, "We're not as far along on Russia as I thought we would be. Obviously it's a huge market for us and we'll see - we'll figure it out."
The UFC boss said that one of the reasons things are not where he expected them to be in Russia is due to the limited manpower and time the UFC has to work with. "There's only two of us at the end of the day," said White. "Me and (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) are out there bouncing around trying to do all this stuff."
White sang the praises of other UFC staff, but admitted that their time is encumbered with other projects such as Fight Pass, Europe and Middle East expansion, MMA legalization efforts in New York and expansion within the United States. As White said, "There's only so much you can do in a work week, and at the same time we're putting on all these fights."
With the original goal of holding a card in Russia in 2013 in the rearview mirror, White refused to put a timetable on when the UFC would break into that market. Despite the slower than anticipated movement, White did say that when the UFC does finally hit Russian soil, he feels the promotion will do "very well."