SBD/November 9, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UFC Holds Macau Event, Not Yet Ready For Big Event On Mainland China

The UFC card in Macau could be prelude to events in mainland China
The UFC is “making its debut in Southeastern Asia” this weekend with Saturday’s UFC on Fuel TV 6 in Macau, and the company “has much on the line,” according to John Morgan of USA TODAY. UFC Asia Managing Dir Mark Fischer said, “Macau is on Chinese soil, so in many ways it is our first event in China. But when we go into a big city like Beijing or Shanghai or Guangzhou -- mainland China -- we want to go in a very big way. We’re not ready to do that.” Morgan reports UFC officials in ’10 “set up an office in Beijing, and in February the company hosted an event in suburban Tokyo, which marked the first time the promotion hosted a fight card in Asia in 12 years.” Now the company is “targeting Asian markets such as China, Korea and the Philippines, and while martial arts long has played a role in many of those cultures, MMA has yet to take hold as it has in countries such as the USA, Canada and Brazil.” Fischer: “Our fan following in China has grown from 5% of the population a couple years ago to 11, 12%, maybe even higher, in major cities.” He added, “We’re hopefully getting to that point where we build up that demand for a big event in a big city in China and make that big bang. It’s really just a question of time" (USA TODAY, 11/9).

STRIKEFORCE FOLDS, WOMEN IN UFC? MMA FIGHTING’s Ariel Helwani cited sources as confirming a TMZ report that UFC rival promotion Strikeforce women’s fighter Ronda Rousey “has fought her final fight for the promotion and is set to make her UFC debut in the near future.” Sources also confirmed that the recently announced Jan. 12 Strikeforce card in Oklahoma City “will be the promotion's last.” Helwani noted women have “never fought inside the Octagon during the UFC's 19-year history” (MMAFIGHTING.com, 11/8). YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Iole notes the plan is for all Strikeforce men's champions to "defend their belts" during the Jan. 12 card. A source stressed that “nothing has been signed and, thus, things could change.” Folding the promotion into the UFC “would also follow” UFC parent company Zuffa's pattern of acquiring MMA promotions and merging them into the UFC. Details are “sparse about how the merger will work and when Strikeforce fighters will begin appearing on UFC cards” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/9). On Long Island, Mark La Monica writes Rousey’s move “a significant step on several levels.” It boosts Rousey's “star power, which has grown with each fight as the former Olympic medal winner in judo submits opponents with her arm bar then flashes that Madison Avenue smile.” In addition, it will “boost ratings and pay per view buys on whatever 2013 card she fights on, seeing how her last two fights were headliners that drew some of Strikeforce's highest numbers on Showtime.” It also represents a “180-degree turn from past months and years” where UFC President Dana White said that women would “likely not fight for his promotion” (NEWSDAY, 11/9).
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