The UFC is hosting another show in Macau this weekend with The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale headlined by Dong Hyun Kim and John Hathaway, along with the welterweight finals to crown their inaugural TUF winner. Along with UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore, this marks the second of the planned 5-7 Asian UFC events this year.
Mark Fischer provided an update on their aggressive expansion plans, and the Managing Director of UFC Asia confirmed a few target dates along with other countries that are close to being finalized.
UFC Asian Expansion plans: 5-7 shows for 2014
Mark Fischer reveals that the UFC targets 5 to 7 shows in Asia on 2014, along with other future plans including how they plan on breaking into Mainland China on 2015, and a possible TUF South East Asia.
"We're coming down to some brass tacks in negotiations for Manila," Fischer told BloodyElbow.com while in Hong Kong to promote the TUF: China Finale, "We're coming back to Macau in August. Japan is looking real good. We're coming down to the paperwork on a return to Japan in the 3rd quarter. We're also coming back to Singapore probably in December. It was supposed to be in January"
The Philippines has often been mentioned as a prime destination, citing the huge fan base at the combat sport crazed country. It's most likely their next card in the region, but according to Fischer, there are still a few minor details that needs some ironing.
"We hope Manila is next (Asian UFC event)," he claims, "We have very positive negotiations in Manila. It's all just negotiations now, and I think beyond that I really couldn't comment."
Another worthy destination being talked about by pundits in terms of the available talent is Korea, and although the UFC plans to go there as well, Fischer says hosting a show in the country isn't as easy as it sounds.
"Korea, it will happen, but (the market) is a little more complicated," he explains, "A couple of the dynamics there that are challenging surprisingly -- because it has a very advanced economy, very advanced in terms of pop music, electronics, or so on -- is simply that some of the venues are a little bit older. Their venue infrastructure is not as great as some of the other places, and also, it is not a great ticket buying public."
"That's changing, and the UFC is getting so popular there that we can be part of that change and people can pay good money to come see a UFC event in Korea. We're looking at that for the 4th quarter," Fischer says, "We're in some good talks in Korea, but until it happens, I hate to say much more."
As the inaugural Ultimate Fighter: China ends this weekend, Fischer states that season two is already being planned, along with other iterations that would involve other nations in the region.
"We're looking at a South East Asian Version of TUF. We're also looking at Korea vs. Japan, but South East Asia would come first."
Obviously these plans are still on the early stages, but if they can push through the MMA scene in Asia could be shaken up this year.
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