UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta was in New York today to lobby for the legalization of MMA in the state, and took the time after his press conference to speak to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. The interview shared a lot of insight on a few different topics, but an important one that came up was something he said at the press conference - that the UFC was going to stage 54 events in 2014. UFC COO Lawrence Epstein originally said 46, but Fertitta said 54. In his interview with Ariel, he clarified that he misspoke and it will not be 54. But it will be between 40 and 50. He explained the whole deal:
We are looking at expanding our fight night product. You know, with the bottom tier you have The Ultimate Fighter, which we're taking around the world now. We have obviously, the series of Fox Sports 1. We just got done filming The Ultimate Fighter China, which will air in January in China. We've got The Ultimate Fighter Canada and Australia in production right now. We're in pre-production for series in various other countries around the world. That's our base.
The top of the tier is our premium events, or here in the United States are our numbered events, or pay-per-view. Those are beamed out around the world as premium events. Sometimes on free-to-air television, sometimes on subscription.
In the middle of the pyramid we have our UFC Fight Night brand, which is distinct in the sense that it's typically, in the main event are two top contenders, most of the time in the top ten. There's real meaning in the outcome relative to their journey to the championship eventually. And the balance of the card is stacked with great fights, a lot of times with up-and-coming guys. We're going to take that Fight Night product and expand it into Europe and into Asia next year. The first one in Asia will kick off on January 4th in Singapore and tickets just went on sale. The first one in Europe will be in London in March. So we're going to add fights in those different regions and when you add them onto the 33 that we do this year, it gets into that 40-ish type number.
It won't be 54, I think I misspoke on that. It will in the 40's.
Ariel had tweeted earlier what Fertitta had said at the press conference, but he cleared it all up in this interview. So basically it means that they're going to tack on the UFN's in Europe in Asia to their basic 2013 schedule. He also said that they'd be announcing how the shows will be aired in the next few days, hinting that it will be something different that fans may expect.