With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently hosting a Fan Expo and its "Bisping vs. Akiyama" event, 2010 was a pretty good year for UFC fans in the United Kingdom.
2011? Not so much.
That's because the promotion has a "less than 20-percent chance" of returning to the UK this year, according to a "gutted" Marshall Zelaznik, who shares the fairly bleak news with ESPN.co.uk:
"There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 percent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them."
Despite "penciling in" an October date for an event in Liverpool, the promotion was unable to find an exact date that was able to coincide with its stateside television broadcasting options.
Zelaznik, UFC Managing Director of International Development, elaborates (via Telegraph.co.uk):
"What has happened is that pretty early on in the year we realized that October would be best time to marry up the available venues with anticipated US TV dates and we began working towards that. However, literally in the last three weeks the TV date moved to and even though we are over five months away from that new date when we readjusted our target the venues we had been holding had already been contracted to other parties. So in summary the US TV date isn’t matching up with venue availability."
The UFC does however, remain committed to its global expansion and will need to continue to hold International events in the immediate future to build on its plans to take The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality series worldwide.