Following their first ever event in China yesterday at ‘UFC On Fuel TV 6’, the promotion were eager to let it be known that they have every intention of continuing to pursue the Asian market.
At the post-fight press conference the UFC’s Managing Director in Asia, Mark Fischer revealed that they will be returning to Japan next year after a successful return to the region back in February for UFC 144.
No fights have been announced yet for the show, but Fischer says it’ll take place on March 3rd at the Saitama Super Arena, and as with UFC 144 it’ll take place in the morning in Japan which will allow the UFC to broadcast it live in it’s usual time slot back in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Fischer also announced yesterday that the UFC have signed a new deal with Indonesia’s largest media company, MNC Media.
“They are Indonesia’s by-far No. 1 media company with a 40 percent share of the Indonesian TV market,” Fischer stated. “They also own a lot of other media, so it’s a great new partnership. It’s going to bring us on terrestrial TV and on their MNC Sports cable stations across the world’s fourth-most populous country. So we’re really excited about that for our future in this great potential market.
“In addition to the media relationship we’re going to have with our programming, MNC is going to be a strategic partner, as well, in the areas of developing the sport and (Indonesian) fighter development, as well as helping to cooperate on bringing UFC fights in the future to Jakarta and other places in Indonesia. So we’re really excited about that.”
Back in China the UFC are also currently working on sealing a TV deal with one of the top networks in the region which would enable them to hold a Chinese edition of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality show, though nothing’s definite at this stage.
From the looks of things the UFC are starting to get pretty aggressive with their international expansion plans. The success of UFC 144 in Japan will certainly have helped in that regard with an attendance of over 20,000 and a solid PPV buy rate of 375,000, while the explosion of MMA in Brazil will surely have made the company eager to discover if there are other potential goldmines out there waiting to be exploited.
What I’m curious to see now is whether they will match this with a similar push in Europe. As things stand that seems doubtful, with the UK again only securing one show in 2012, along with ‘UFC On Fuel TV 3’ in Sweden – not a lot when compared with the likes of Australia who’ll have had two by the end of the year and Brazil who managed to get three.