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Zuffa buying regional MMA libraries for Fight Pass content, including Pancrase, HOOKnSHOOT, and TKO

It looks like the UFC is starting to take development of Fight Pass into a real fight library seriously.

At some point the further growth of Fight Pass became a bit unclear. There was (and still is) talk of them adding live broadcasts of other, smaller MMA organizations and potentially even adding other combat sports as well. Still, beyond the acquisition of Invicta those moves haven't seemed quite readily forth coming. All of which has made their recent announcement something of a complete surprise. On Saturday the UFC announced the inclusion of 8 MMA promotional libraries into the Fight Pass Archives, along with the rights to any future events those promotions may have.

The most notable of these is Pancrase, which started back in 1993, featuring Masakatsu Funaki, Ken Shamrock, and Bas Rutten. Since their early days they've gone on to promote 294 events, still holding about 15 events a year and featuring fighters such as Nate Marquardt, Chael Sonnen, and even Jose Aldo, among their many bouts. SInce Pancrase events have been essentially a PPV product for US audiences for the last several years, getting access to their library through Fight Pass will mean access to a lot of fights that even many hardcore fans haven't seen.

The other promotions acquired in the announcement are HOOKnSHOOT, TKO, XFO, Cage Rage, UCMMA, Extreme Challenge, and King of the Cage. Hook N Shoot ran 68 events between 1996 and 2011, and featured Yves Edwards, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Jens Pulver, Julie Kedzie, and Miesha Tate among it's nearly 500 bouts. Similarly, TKO ran in Canada from 2000 to 2008 with 46 events, featuring Georges St-Pierre, Sam Stout, and Mark Hominick, among many others.

Cage Rage was one of the premiere UK MMA promotions in its heyday, providing an early platform for Michael Bisping, Paul Daley, Ian Freeman, and Brad Pickett. Not to mention the wealth of exciting talent that moved through the promotion for a fight or two; most famously, Cage Rage housed Anderson Silva's KO of Tony Fryklund, but also saw Vitor Belfort, Melvin Manhoef, and many many more fight beneath it's banners. After Cage Rage's collapse (due to a botched acquisition by Pro Elite), the former owner went on to start UCMMA, which launched the career of Jimi Manuwa, and has continued to serve as a jumping off point for a lot of young talent in the UK.

Add to that the still active Midwestern promotions of King of the Cage, XFO, and Extreme Challenge, the latter of which served as a proving ground for many of the early Miletich Fighting Systems talent, and the UFC has made quite a haul for fans looking to watch the early careers of their favorite fighters, and the development of MMA as a whole over the last two decades. MMAFighting reports that the library acquisitions were the brain child of Joe Silva who came up with a list of what he would want to see on Fight Pass after which Zuffa went out to see what they could get. They've also apparently been approached by other promotions about hosting their libraries and apparently have several other deals with MMA promotions in the works to get even more archived content, potentially including K-1 and Rings.