The Impact of Zuffa’s Asian Expansion

Zuffa is contiuing their global expansion by opening an office in China.  They have hired a lead man for the project in former NBA Asia executive Mark Fischer.  The UFC hopes to expand into the region.  They will hope for strong television deals, new talent, and eventually a live show.

I believe one way the UFC expansion into Asia will impact things is in terms of their roster.  However, historically the UFC has struggled to land top Asian talent. Furthermore, many of the guys they have landed have not been very successful.

Curiously, Zuffa only has 8 Asian fighters unde contract (Takanori Gomi, Dong Hyun Kim, Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Dongi Yang, Chan Sung Jung, Zhang Tie Quan and Takeya Mizugaki).  I have to believe that expansion will be difficult without more native stars.  NBA Asia was successful in large part due to the success and marketing of NBA player Yao Ming.  UFC in England has been successful in large part to the success of Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy.

The problem is that many of the Japanese fighters are content fighting in DREAM, Sengoku, Shooto, and Deep promotions.  The impact of UFC’s expansion into Asia may be that more Asian fighters will want to fight in the world’s premiere organization.  Since the collapse of PRIDE Asian MMA has struggled.  DREAM and Sengoku are struggling financially.  The parent company of DREAM, FEG may be on its last leg.  Ratings are way down.  Japan has not been known for being great at developing stars.  Also, Japanese MMA has a reputation of being somewhat crooked.  MMA in Asia needs a revival.

I believe we may see several stars head to UFC or WEC once events start airing on TV in China, India and Japan.

Meanwhile, Checkout MMA Planet’s Top Asian MMA Prospects

While we may see the impact directly in the UFC roster do not be fooled the impact will be in revenue.  The UFC will literally be available in billions of homes as they make their way through Asia.  Watch for serious pushes in China, India, the Philippines, Taiwan and even Japan.

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This entry was posted in Chan Sung Jung, Dong Hyun Kim, Dong Yi Yang, Takanori Gomi, Takeya Mizugaki, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Yushin Okami, Zhang Tie Quan, Zuffa and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Impact of Zuffa’s Asian Expansion

  1. nataly says:

    maybe you could answer to the question in my website: what DREAM events should I check for? I used to be a big PRIDE fan

    • Jason says:

      I was a big PRIDE fan as well. While DREAM may have attempted to replace PRIDE, DREAM is a far cry from what we saw in PRIDE. DREAM is in serious financial trouble. However, they still will have some good fight.
      Their middleweight, lightweight and featherweight tournaments were great. That is where we really started to see Gegard Mousasi, “Jacare”, Joe Warren and a few others.
      I think that DREAM’s partnership with Strikeforce hurts them as well. Their star, Shinya Aoki lost in his lone Strikeforce bout.
      Nevertheless, DREAM will have two more events this year. DREAM 16 will take place in September and they will host their annual New Year’s card. Don’t count on DREAM being around deep into 2011 though.

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