Yahoo: Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, Montreal ... What happened to UFC in the U.K.?

Discussion in 'MMA News' started by Clark Kent, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Clark Kent

    Clark Kent <B>News Bot</B>

    Sep 11, 2006
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    02-15-2010 09:35 PM:

    Anyone remember what a breakthrough UFC 59 in Anaheim, Ca. was way back in 2006? It marked the promotion's first time in California and opened the door for MMA to start hitting bigger markets around the United States. Before that, 18-of-22 events were held in Las Vegas.

    Less than four years later, spreading the MMA love around the U.S. isn't enough. The UFC is slated to hit Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Montreal and Vancouver in the next 15 weeks.

    The first step to international expansion was putting an office in the U.K. and holding six events there in 2008 and 2009. UFC has also added three television partners in the U.K. It's been a huge success story.

    So where are the 2010 events for places like London, Dublin (we know, not part of the U.K.) and Manchester? UFC U.K. chief Marshall Zelaznik says that the Brits, Welsh, Scottish and Irish may not get an event until the close of 2010.

    "We're all motivated by the same things, to grow the sport," Zelaznik told Cagewriter. "The wayyou grow it is by bringing events to other markets. In a perfectworld, we'd be doing an event every weekend [in the U.K.]. That's not realistic, so we haveto pick and choose."

    Zelaznik says the U.K. is still hungry for fight cards.

    "Everything's positive there [but] I think we need more fights. They're important for the market, for the media, for the fans. The fans understand it deep down. It's okay to want more. So we're going to try to deliver it."

    Now that's progress in a region that was slow to warm up to MMA back in 2006. On a positive note, three of the country's biggest stars -- Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy and Paul Daley -- are all featured in megafights between this weekend and early May. Zelaznik also that the promotion is looking to get at least four U.K. fighters on the card at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. Maybe it's time to start moving events out of Las Vegas? Sin City has struggled to buy tickets for many of the recent events. UFC may be hurting its business in the U.K., by forcing so many fights close to home.

    Yahoo! Sports.
    Cagewriter is an MMA blog edited by Steve Cofield.

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