How much does your average person from Japan know about the UFC, or indeed MMA for that matter on the eve of UFC 144: Edgar Vs Henderson which marks the promotion’s first visit to the region in a decade?
That was the question MMAfighting.com’s Ariel Helwani looked to answer as he took to the streets of Tokyo armed with a mic and a camera.
The responses he got indicated that the UFC still has a lot of work to do in order to become a household name in The Land Of The Rising Sun despite their global dominance in the sport.
It appears that people were more familiar with homegrown promotions like the now defunct PRIDE organization and K-1.
As for why the sport in general is suffering a downturn in popularity in Japan, a number of possible reasons were suggested including a lack of television support, a decline in big name stars, Japanese fighters moving to the U.S and a general culture shift away from violence after last year’s catastrophic earthquake in the region.
Check out the full video below courtesy of MMAfighting.com and I also strongly urge you to check out the 45min chat Helwani had on the streets of Tokyo with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson for them earlier this week which was as good an interview as we’ve ever seen involving the former UFC light-heavyweight champion.