It's coming, it's going, and it likely can't be stopped. The UFC's expansion into the global market is at full force and could possibly change the world of mixed martial arts forever...
And I must say, I kinda like it.
By now your likely aware of The Ultimate Fighter season nine, "The UK vs. US". Now, whether or not it is a complete success in ratings (as the premier would suggest), it will undoubtedly have an effect on the newly opened European market the UFC is exploring.
Britain serves as a gateway to Europe. They have more in common with their North American counterparts than any other European country, and they already have a wealth of talented mixed martial artists to help provide a fan base for the sport: Marcus Davis, Paul Taylor, and of course Michael Bisping.
Plus, a good ol' fashioned revolutionary rivalry sure provides some interest.
Your probably also aware that UFC 99 will take place in Germany with a substantial main event: Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva vs. Rich "Ace" Franklin. It seems that the UFC has struck its claim in the middle of Europe, which, if successful, will open a variety of new markets throughout the Continent.
What does this mean?
Opening up Europe brings a whole new wealth of competition and talent. Right now, the UFC is relatively limited; even though they bring in fighters from Brazil (Anderson Silva), Canada (George St. Pierre), and a wealth of other countries (the list goes on), their base resides in the U.S..
This not only means it remains most popular in the U.S., but most of their fighters come from there—you don't see too many fighters flying in from Belarus to fight on The Ultimate Fighter.
The only way you can truly be deemed the best fighter in the world is if you've taken on the best in the world.
Opening up Europe can translate to more big markets (ie. Japan, Russia, Brazil), which means the best will fight the best, imagine Fedor vs. Brock, or Aoki vs. Penn. Popularizing MMA throughout the globe and combining the talent of existing markets with the UFC can only serve to better the talent pool.
Just think of the amount of competitors the UFC gained after it bought out Pride FC, and the amount of super-fights that buyout made possible.
Now I know what your thinking, "Damn that Dana White and his uber-capitalist ways!"
Well, in one sense, I can't blame ya. Globalization of UFC could create a monopoly on MMA, which is potentially dangerous to fighter salaries and the sport as a whole.
On the other hand, the funds and the increased audience could provide astronomical wealth to the company, allowing them to pay their athletes much better, while maintaining their greedy, capitalist endeavours (as so many fans have come to see it).
I think it would be amazing. I can't imagine the nationalistic fervour that would consume me when my favourite fighter: George "Rush" St. Pierre entered the octagon to defend, not only his belt, but his country. Or perhaps a bitter Cold War rivalry solved at the hands of Fedor and Brock.
As a whole, I just want to see the best talent pitted against one another to see who is actually the best in the world; and although many complain about the UFC's ways, I think they're the closest to this goal.
Thanks to Brian Oswald for his info regarding the new TUF premier, that's why I made assertion that it had started off well.
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