UFC inks 'historic' developmental deal with Vale Tudo Japan featuring televised tournament series

Jayne Russell

Just don't call it The Ultimate Fighter.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) continues to expand its global footprint overseas, recently announcing a new developmental deal with Vale Tudo Japan (VTJ), designed to "promote and operate a new tournament series projected to premiere later this year."

Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will remember the VTJ series operating under the SHOOTO umbrella and much like its stateside combat sports reality show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), each winner of the VTJ series will earn a UFC contract.

From UFC President Dana White:

"Much like The Ultimate Fighter, this series will continue to cultivate and popularize top talent for us in new markets. The round-robin tournament concept is going to make for amazing fights, with a lot at stake. Every fight will matter, every performance will count. I am so excited to be back in Japan."

The tournament will feature fighters in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions and according to the official release, will air on Japanese terrestrial television. While nothing is official at this time, expect VTJ to find its way on the Fight Pass digital network somewhere down the road.

UFC can next be seen in "The Land of the Rising Sun" with its UFC Fight Night 52 event, headlined by Roy Nelson vs. Mark Hunt, inside the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sept. 20, 2014. For more on that upcoming fight card click here.

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