Mark Fischer Discusses UFC's 2014 Plans For Asia
Posted by Joseph Lee on 02.26.2014
Including new UFC seasons...
In an interview with MMA Junkie, UFC Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer spoke about the company's plans for Asia. The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale airs on UFC Fight Pass this Saturday, and Fischer said it's just the start of events in the area. The event begins at 6:15 AM ET (3:15 AM PT) at the Venetian Macao's CotaiArena in Macau.
Negotiations are currently ongoing for a deal to bring the UFC to Manilla this year, along with a second Macau event in August and Japan in the third quarter. Fischer also said that he thinks the UFC will return to Singapore in December. South Korea is an option for the fourth quarter but Fischer said there may be issues in finding a suitable venue and getting fans, as there is "not a big ticket-buying public."
Fischer also said that a second season of The Ultimate Fighter: China is being planned for 2015, as nearly 10 million people watched at least part of each episode of the first season. The series could also hit other locations.
Fischer said: "We're looking at a Southeast Asia version. We're also looking at a Korea vs. Japan (version), but Southeast Asia would probably come first."
Fischer believes MMA is 10-20 years behind North America and Brazil in many Asian markets, but he thinks UFC can help speed things along with shows like The Ultimate Fighter, which is helping to create new talent.
He added: "Fighter development programs to get the talent levels up from this region. Giving them good coaching. Getting that (‘TUF') winner coming out of the region is going to be a real spark. It's all building to these moments. In the meantime, we've got great television partners, and we're building the TV audience largely by getting out to literally millions and potentially billions in Asia through TV. All of this is coming together."
A benefit of the UFC's plans for Asia is that it could grow quickly. There are 4.3 billion people in the country (60% of the world's population) and 1.4 billion in China. He concluded: "The thing is, in China, once you get big, you get real big."