Ahead of their UFC Fight Night 34 show in Singapore, Mark Fischer, the Managing Director for UFC Asia, spoke to the press and revealed their plans for Asian expansion, which include several shows this year.
"I think we're going for 5 or 6, with an outside chance of even 7 in Asia this year," Fischer claims as he talks about their plans, "They'll be UFC Fight Nights, and they'll be very exciting cards with top contenders in the main event. I think we will continue to expand and maintain our presence in all the markets we are going to, and we are going to be adding gradually each year."
The Singapore show this weekend kicks off this year's plans, with Macau being the second destination for the TUF: China Finale this March. According to Fischer, another show planned for the near future would be in the Philippines, a country they've been hinting at going for the past few years now.
"We hope that (UFC: Philippines) is going to happen on late 2nd quarter of 2014," he states, "We're having some very good discussions there. They've got a great new venue in the Mall of Asia Arena, and of course, a tremendous fan base. The Philippines has probably one of our largest followings per capita in all of Asia for the UFC. We have a great broadcast partner there, and we'd love to come on 2014. Right now we're just ironing out these details to make that happen."
As for future plans, Fischer is banking on the success of TUF China for a goal of eventually breaking into Mainland China next year.
"This whole Ultimate Fighter China Show is ground breaking in many ways," he said, "It gives us the chance to introduce our sport, and the UFC as a global leader, the quality, and other things that the UFC stands for, through the show to millions of fans that otherwise maybe weren't exposed to it."
"Our plan now, is to do this for a couple of seasons, and we believe that by first half of 2015, China will be chomping at a bit for a major UFC event. That's the right time to come in with a big UFC fight in China," he continues, "We think a couple seasons of TUF, and the market will be very much primed."
The UFC also plans on using the same formula for other areas, including a possible iteration for South East Asia.
"We think there's an excellent opportunity to create The Ultimate Fighter: South East Asia series," Fischer claims, "It's very much on our to do list. It would be a little different because we have to figure out the languages, like how we can have a guy from Thailand talk to a guy from Indonesia or Vietnam, or wherever we can get these fighters from, but we'll figure that out. We think there's an opportunity to produce a great show."
It's still a bit early, but if the UFC can pull it off and truly have that many shows on various Asian countries, we could be seeing a drastic change in the MMA landscape in the region.
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