UFC Eyeing Big Asia Expansion In '14, With Possibility Of Up To Seven Events
UFC "could visit" Asia seven times in the next 12 months for various competitions "if all goes as planned," according to John Morgan of USA TODAY. UFC has hosted seven Asia events in its 20-year history, and the first event of the new year, UFC Fight Night 34: Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim, "takes place Saturday at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre." UFC Exec VP & Asia Managing Dir Mark Fischer thinks that Saturday's card "will mark the beginning of a banner year for the promotion." Fischer: "We've got Saturday's event in Singapore, and we're looking at a couple of events this year in Macau. We're looking, as well, at a new multi-year agreement to come to Japan at least once a year. We're in discussions with partners in Seoul, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta (Indonesia). I don't expect all of these to happen in 2014, but we'll be coming to all of these places soon enough. Mainland China is also on the horizon." UFC "recently shifted its Asian headquarters from Beijing to Singapore, where Fischer said the promotion can more easily manage its aggressive expansion in the region." Fischer thinks that the company this year "will prove its long-term commitment to the market." He said, "By having more fights in this region, we open up many more spots and convenient opportunities for fighters from Asia and create local relevance by having these fights in Asia" (USA TODAY, 1/2).