Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Chairman and CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta, was the keynote speaker at a recent press conference (watch full video replay here) inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, detailing the favorable financial benefits that mixed martial arts (MMA) would bring to state coffers and surrounding businesses if sanctioned.
Fertitta also talked about the amount of events UFC would stage in the United States and across the globe in 2014.
"I messed up," he admitted. "It's 46."
Nonetheless, that's just eight events less than his accidental exaggeration. In fact, it's still a gigantic number of events to coordinate -- almost one event per week (on average).
"Part of it is just being driven by the expansion in Europe and Asia because it is difficult to build a business when your primary product is aired at fringe times," he explained. "The GSP fight actually came on at 5 a.m. in the United Kingdom. That bout started at five in the morning. We are never going to build a mainstream business.... We are doing good there, but to be mainstream, we have to bring events to their primetime and events to primetime in Asia."
Europe and Asia are only part of the expansion and targeted cities for 2014 for the world's largest MMA promotion (more details here). Fertitta also mentioned where UFC might be headed and what cities are in the discussion stages.
"We announced London," he said. "We are putting the schedule together now, which will probably include a trip back to Dublin and Stockholm, Sweden, which is a great market for us. We are talking about expanding in Turkey with Istanbul, maybe go back to the Middle East, Abu Dhabi," he continued. "There are a couple of other cities we are working with now.
"Then in Asia, we've announced a deal in Singapore and Macau," he continued. "We are looking to going back to Tokyo. We are having conversations in Manila, various parts of Malaysia and possibly Thailand. Some of that stuff is still up in the air, but we are working on the schedule."
UFC fans worldwide have already witnessed several weeks this past year that included more than one fight card. Moving forward, don't be surprised about the possibility that two UFC events will coincide on the same day in different cities.
"We are trying not to," Fertitta said. "But, it's possible."