Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is planning to host a minimum of six mixed martial arts (MMA) "Fight Night" events overseas for its 2014 fight campaign, only this time, it's not going to worry about adjusting the broadcast schedule to capture a stateside audience.
Sorry Yanks, but this one is strictly for the European market.
The first such event is expected to be held at the O2 Arena in London, England, and will be a "significant event," according to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. In addition, the focus will be on local talent -- which explains this recent signing -- while catering to UFC's European broadcast partners.
UFC Executive Vice President Garry Cook breaks it down for FOX Sports:
"I think there's got to be a little bit more purpose in our European events. You have to be fighting for a reason, for something, and that's important. We can't have a tournament, as you well know. It's very difficult to do that, but we do see the opportunity to create more European champions."
The expectation is to eventually reach an average of 12-16 events per year, just in that region, according to the report.
Most of the combat sports landscape in that part of the world in unfertilized. Regional promotions like BAMMA have been doing their part, but don't have the type of resources UFC has when it comes to investing in longterm growth and development.
In addition, you need to do more than just spend beaucoup bucks, you also need to secure broadcast partners like BT Sport, who recently signed on for another three years with UFC to air a mixture of live, taped and originally-produced programming.
Future markets under consideration for the promotion's European expansion strategy include but are not limited to:
Having more international events is a great way to expand the already too-full UFC roster, making more opportunities available for folks who would otherwise be unable to get to the states. And who knows what diamond in the rough is waiting for ZUFFA overseas?
And if you can't watch it because you don't have a pad across the pond, no worries, that's what the cast and crew of your favorite global go-getters at MMAmania.com are here for.