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The man in China

The UFC has been talking about China for several months now, and after UFC 118 they wheeled out the exec they hope will put everything together and make the country work for them:

The fight organizer and promoter for the form of sports-combat called mixed martial arts announced that it would be setting up a foothold in Asia. The company didn’t specify where it would set up shop, but its new chief in Asia is Mark Fischer, a former exec with the National Basketball Association Inc., who lives in Beijing.

To manage UFC’s Asian business, the fight group owned by Las Vegas-based Zuffa LLC is turning to Fischer with the hope that some of his magic touch in marketing the NBA can rub off on their fledgling Asian franchise.

Basketball has been one of the few American sports imports to become a winner in China.

Under Fischer’s direction from 2003 to 2008, the NBA managed to ink more than 20 marketing partnerships with leading brands in the country. Tsingtao, for instance, is now the official beer of the NBA in China. The NBA has actually set up a separate corporate entity for its China operations, which was valued at $2.3 billion when it was set up in 2008.

They certainly picked the right guy. Not only was Fischer a key guy in making basketball float while other sports like the NFL flopped, he also looks more like Uncle Fester than Dana White, which means we can spread the Zuffa brass nicknames around.

So what’s next for UFC China? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. Did you guess TUF? Congratulations! You don’t have brain damage.

“What we’re starting to do now is we’re working on ways to get the “Ultimate Fighter” in other countries. We’re going to start getting the “Ultimate Fighter” in each of these different countries, and try to figure out, when we have the finales, the finales will be different countries coming together and everybody fights,” White confirmed.

“Once we get this rolling and we get the “Ultimate Fighter” in all these different countries, technology is our friend, there’s more ways to watch this stuff. So people will be able to watch the “Ultimate Fighter” from these different countries too, online or however, but that’s our long term goal.”

Sounds good … for some reason I don’t think new markets would have flocked to see their locals suffer never-ending ass-whumpings by random American homeboys, so keeping them in a separate pocket dimension where they can fight against other newb countries for national pride sounds smart. It’s never good to let those less developed countries know how shitty they are. Next thing you know, they’ll be all like “What, you aren’t covered in flies?” and “Your bread isn’t made of 30% dirt?”