Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is gearing up for its Singapore debut as early as next year, as the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion today (July 11, 2013) announced plans to hold an event at Singapore Marina Bay Sands in "first quarter of 2014."
UFC International Executive Mark Fischer talks to Peter Rutherford (via Reuters):
"The event in Macau was a tremendous success and I think it was an eye-opener for both the fans and the UFC. We'll be bringing at least one live fight event to the Singapore Marina Bay Sands, with the first one coming early first quarter next year. We'll have well-known fighters on the main card but we want to fill the card with more Asian fighters. We really want to build a base and... create more relevance with local audiences."
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta recently joked that "among a population of a billion people in China, there's got to be someone there that can fight" (see his full quote here).
Let's hope he's right.
Following a successful Macao debut in late 2012 (results here), the promotion has scheduled tryouts later this month for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) China (details here), which will air this November and feature up-and-coming Asian fighters in the welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions.
UFC landed a broadcast television deal with Inner Mongolia Television back in 2009.
Future shows are also being targeted for Seoul and Jakarta, with Tokyo and Bangkok already in "advanced talks." That's in addition to the plans for India and the Middle East, which are also expected to get a local edition of the combat sports reality show.
World domination. It's no longer a punchline.