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4,000 Fans Attend Chuck Liddell Workout in the Phillipines

The UFC was stunned last year at the incredible turnout they got for a Brandon Vera promotional tour in the Philippines.  They are back now, and this time they brought Chuck Liddell, who is apparently as much of a rock star there as he is here:

“Chuck is a rock star over here,” Fertitta told from his stop in the Philippines. “He walks in the hotel and there are people all over him, and then we ended up doing a public training session and over 4,000 people showed up at the Mall of Asia just to see him. It was very interesting, even at times a little bit scary because there were so many people there.”

In some way, the UFC, which already has a broadcast television deal with the ABS-CBN network in the Philippines, has arguably gone more mainstream in Southeast Asia than it has in America.

“When we came to the hotel, we checked in about 6:30 in the morning and there were about 20 photographers waiting for us. Then we held a press conference at nine and there were multiple TV stations and reporters. It’s beyond the imagination. They have a full day of press for us tomorrow, and I’ve got to be honest, I knew that we were growing internationally, but I don’t think I really had an appreciation for the amount of momentum we truly have until I came over here and saw it for myself.”

The plan is to run their first show in the Philippines in summer 2009 with a couple big UFC names and a lot of local fighters.  There is no word yet on how they will air the show.

They are extremely focused on international planning right now, it is not just some short term thing.  Lorenzo Fertitta leaving Station Casino was actually a very big deal inasmuch as it signified a serious dedication to the international expansion.  They are currently in the process of hiring staff in France, Germany, Australia, the Philippines, and elsewhere to try to create infrastructure for success.  Even more importantly, they are forecasting significant initial losses, in the expectation that it will take years to make it back, but it will be well worth the investment in the long run.  

The biggest question mark going forward is whether they sufficiently understand and respect the cultures of the countries they are entering into enough to penetrate the market successfully.  That, however, is another topic entirely.  

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