UFC Eyes Mexico For Expansion With Potential First Event In Mexico City In '14
After years of UFC “teasing the possibility, Mexico finally could be next” for league expansion, according to Dann Stupp of USA TODAY. UFC to date has “never ventured south of the border despite Mexico's quickly growing circuit of regional fight promotions.” But the “pieces are falling into place, including a new TV deal and a planned Spanish-language version of 'The Ultimate Fighter' reality series.” UFC Managing Dir of Int'l Development Marshall Zelaznik had “hoped an event could take place in Mexico this year." But he added that that was "probably a bit too ambitious.” Zelaznik said, "I think it'll probably slide to next year, in Mexico City.” As with other markets, UFC's success in Mexico “could hinge on its ability to build and promote local talent.” Mexican-American and UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is “already a star in the country,” and Erik Perez is “a rising bantamweight contender.” If UFC's expansion into Mexico “proves successful, it could set the blueprint for the rest of the world” (USA TODAY, 6/10).
LOCAL SUPPORT: SPORTSNET’s Perry Lefko wrote Brazil “surely has to be [the] heart and soul” of MMA. As UFC “comes to Brazil with more regularity, the fans are treated to quality cards because for the most part the competitors come to fight.” At UFC on Fuel TV 10 in Paola Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Saturday, the crowd “roared as one Brazilian after another ramped up” the card “with stellar performances.” The crowd, which “numbered 6,286 but seemed much larger because of the sheer volume of noise it elicited, cheered wildly.” It sometimes “seems like watching a UFC card in Brazil is like viewing a soccer event because of reactions of the crowd" (SPORTSNET, 6/9).