The UFC is constantly looking to open new markets overseas. UFC 110 will be emanating from Sydney, Australia and UFC 112 will be held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Following my recent article on the UFC's first venture into uncharted waters in Asia, we look now at some countries that will make alot of sense for the UFC to hold an event in.
You can read my article here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/324465-would-ufc112-the-first-ufc-event-in-asiamiddle-east-be-a-success
My picks are based on what would make sense financially for Dana White and Zuffa..
It just makes too much sense to hold an event at China. China is the most populous country in the world, and in the recent 2008 Beijing Olympics, we've seen how China likes to do things big.
We've seen how China can impact American sports. Tracy McGrady of Houston Rockets fame in the NBA managed to get on the All-Star team without playing a single minute of the season. His teammate just happens to be the biggest sportsmen in China, Yao Ming, and fan voting decides who becomes an all-star.
China also have a strong fighting culture. Styles like wushu, kung fu, and Shaolin Temple come to mind.
UFC can market to one billion people with an event there. That is more people than the entire North American continent combined. The potential is endless.
Despite being the birthplace of UFC fighters like Gilbert Yvel, Antoni Hardonk, Stefan Struve, and former UFC fighter Bas Rutten, in addition to housing popular MMA gym Vos Gym, the Netherlands have been passed on every time the UFC explores new European territory.
The Dutch have more fighters in the UFC than Germany, and yet Germany played host to UFC 99. Should the UFC consider another event in Europe, the Netherlands should be next in line.
The land of Muay Thai is another no-brainer. The fighting culture there is so competitive that fighters start training from a young age. Men all over the country spend their evenings in shady arenas watching and betting on fights.
Many UFC fighters spend time training there. If you have a copy of Dec./Jan. UFC magazine, you can see that Mike Swick spends his summer there training and living with the people. The article really explains Thailand to those who have yet to visit the place.
Mixed Martial Arts has alot to catch up on before they become the most popular fight sport in the country, but they can take a huge step by holding events there.
Thailand is also geographically a logical choice as it is the center of South East Asia, which means it's a reasonable distance away from Abu Dhabi and Sydney, which allows it to attract MMA fans in the region to make the short trip there.
This probably makes the most sense, considering Mexico is just south of the United States border. The Mexicans' main combat sport would be professional wrestling, which is huge there.
The UFC have a whole range of fighters like Cain Velasquez, Efrain Escudero, Leonard Garcia, and Diego Sanchez who come from a Mexican background, and it would be the easiest card to make with each of them facing a non-Mexican opponent.
Brazil would be the logical choice should the UFC decide to hold an event in the continent of South America. Back in 1998, the UFC, which had yet to be purchased by Zuffa, held an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Brazil has the second best MMA fighters in the whole of the sport. An argument can even be made that with the likes of Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, the Nogueira brothers, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, and Vitor Belfort, they have the best fighters in the world.
It just makes too much sense to feature the current UFC Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion in their home country.
Soccer crowds frequently reach 70,000 and above, and if the UFC could even achieve half of that attendance it would have been a success. The way Brazilians mobbed Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva when he returned with the Light Heavyweight Championship and Middleweight Championship, respectively, shows how passionate they are about the sport and that bodes well.