An office in Canada (which will also serve as the UFC’s east coast branch) isn’t the only new international endeavor in the works for Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Dana just revealed that they’re planning on opening another office in China:
“We’re there now,” White said. “Lorenzo has been in China for the last 10 days, and we’re going to make it happen.”
“It” includes future live shows in China, but the “virus” that is the UFC will first spread via the familiar vehicle of “The Ultimate Fighter.” White said a Chinese version of the long-running reality competition series is likely to debut in the very near future.
“‘The Ultimate Fighter’ is what really kicks it off, and you build stars in all these different regions,” White said. “We’re working right now on ‘The Ultimate Fighter Middle East’ and ‘The Ultimate Fighter Canada’ that will be first. Then either before one of those or right at the same time will be ‘The Ultimate Fighter China.'”
Once the UFC has its roots firmly planted in China, White said the world’s largest fight promotion has its sights set firmly on another country with staggering demographics: India.
“In India, there’s 300 million males aged 18-24,” White said. “That’s more people than are actually in the U.S.”
Of course, 76% of the Indian population belongs to tribal or untouchable caste groups that live in homes made out of mud bricks. So 225 million of those males are about as capable of getting a UFC ticket as they are of getting a fair shake after some rich Indian douchebag runs over them with his Porsche. But at least that means there’s still some douches with Porsches who can attend events!
Still, it’s exciting to hear about the UFC’s ambitious expansion plans, especially since they seem to ‘get’ the fact that they can’t just plop down their US product in places like this and expect fans to bear witness to the fitness of the modern warrior. They need local fighters, which means more than just regional TUFs: it means regional shows, which could lead to regional divisions, which could lead to pure awesomeness.
Dana’s vision of “single nights with multiple events on multiple continents” is possibly the most exciting news I’ve heard in a long time – it heralds the true expansion of the UFC from a company that offers one or two sports events a month to a true sports organization that runs on a weekly basis around the world. The ball starts rolling with these new international TUFs, and I gotta say this is the first time in years that I’ve been eagerly awaiting a new season of that show.