The Ultimate Fighter: Do Five International Versions Make Sense?

Levi NileContributor IIIJuly 4, 2012

As Dana White and the UFC continue to push forward toward their goal of making MMA the biggest of sports world wide, so goes The Ultimate Fighter, built on the strength of sixteen successful seasons. 

One of their biggest talent acquisition and marketing tools, the show is set to expand into new countries toward the end of cultivating new audiences invested in seeing their countrymen elevated to stardom.

With the success of the show in Brazil and the U.K., Australia is now on deck, set to share the stage as a familiar rivalry is played upon: Australia vs. the U.K.

Some people, wary of not only the number of pay-per-view events being staged but the expansion of the show, are wondering if the current forecast of five international versions of The Ultimate Fighter makes any kind of sense at all.

When considering the question, expansion seems to be the only thing that does makes sense. The Ultimate Fighter is the ultimate tool for building bridges, and if the show is not expanding into other countries, then it loses its chief virtue: acquiring new talent across the globe.

Of course, it could continue to run in America and a few select countries, but the sport of MMA and the UFC has already been established in those areas and now needs only the power of momentum.

The show needs to expand to as many countries that will have it, because that is growth. The plan of the UFC was never limited to raising the sport above all other sports in America: the plan was to achieve a growth on a global scale that is higher than other sports that are a relative passion in select countries.

American football is big in America, not Spain or Canada. Hockey is huge in Canada, not Italy. MMA and the UFC do not seek to contend with these sports where they enjoy the largest audience, but globally; pulling together the largest overall audience, comprising fans from all over the world.

And to that end, The Ultimate Fighter, starting slowly in some cases, could see success in Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, the Philippines, and perhaps even countries like Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

A sport like MMA is simply too diverse to belong to a few select countries; it was built to appeal to a vast cross section of nationalities.

One only need look at some of the successful disciplines employed in MMA to see this proven true: the art of sambo from Russia, Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Brazil, freestyle wrestling from England, Greco-Roman wrestling from Greece, traditional boxing from America and England, judo from Japan, Thai boxing from Thailand, and so on.

If Dana White and the UFC are honestly committed to the growth of the sport of MMA, then nothing could be more profound than seeing The Ultimate Fighter in all of the countries mentioned, and more.

It has the potential to truly be a global show for a sport that may have been assembled in America, but with parts gathered from all over the world.