The UFC has been trying to expand to new audiences for quite some time now. Expanding to every audience would give them a stronghold on the area, as well as making it easier for them to acquire talent from the area.
What with talk of all-foreign Ultimate Fighter shows and the UFC's past visits to other countries (Ireland, UK, Germany), it has been made clear that the UFC has stepped up its attempts to expand internationally.
However, their work isn't complete, not by a long shot. Many people have wondered where the UFC may hold another foreign fight card. I've compiled a list of 10 cities that would be a good destination for the UFC to visit.
For obvious reasons, Mexico City would be a great place to host a fight card. Despite the danger of some drug cartel brutally bombing a UFC fighter in a publicity stunt, it should be in the UFC's interests to get a fight card going here.
Not only would it be a great place for Cain Velasquez to defend his title, but the UFC could also show some Mexicans that there are other sports than boxing and soccer. Drug cartel references aside, the UFC could definitely pull it off.
They just need willing fighters, and a great main event to sell the tickets.
This place may not make sense to you, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The UFC has no notable names on their roster from Iraq. Lightweight Kamal Shalorus is from neighboring Iran, and that's as close as it gets. But I'm not suggesting it because the UFC has a lot of Iraqi fighters to sell the tickets.
I'm suggesting it as a future venue for one of the UFC's Fight for the Troops events.
I can see it now, the UFC running an event in Iraq in front of thousands of troops. They have the fighters to do it. In addition to their regular fighters, they also have 10 fighters who were in the military at one point in time.
United States Marine Corps vet Brian Stann could be in the main event against Navy vet Tim Creduer, and USMC vet Jake Ellenberger could face National Guard vet Rick Story in a rematch.
I think it's a great idea, and though I doubt any of you agree with me, I'm writing this piece, and if you disagree, feel free to start a nice debate about it in the comments section.
Any MMA event in Germany is a big "if." Though the Germans were responsible for the Holocaust, a little blood seems to bother them a lot. How many of you readers saw Stefan Struve's forehead laceration at UFC 99 against Denis Stojnic?
It was awful.
Though not on the level of B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson (that was a veritable river of blood), it was enough to paint Struve's frail body completely red. The Germans actually banned the UFC from live TV because they deemed the UFC too violent to watch.
The UFC doesn't have the German star power they would like, as Denis Siver is their only notable fighter from that area. However, that hasn't stopped them in the past, as they've aired two fight cards, both in Cologne.
If they could come up with another solid fight card like UFC 122, they could likely have a successful debut in Berlin, but that's only if they feel comfortable making the foray there in the first place.
The Japanese people, though known for their post-WWII peacefulness (or is that the Chinese?), love them some MMA. They're the country responsible for PRIDE Fighting Championships, DEEP, DREAM and many others.
Some of the best fighters the world has ever known were Japanese. Shinya Aoki, Takanori Gomi, Kid Yamamoto and Kazushi Sakuraba are all Japanese.
The UFC definitely has the Japanese star power to sell a fight card in Tokyo, and it would be in their best interests because a UFC event in someplace as big as Tokyo only means more money, and in the end, isn't that what it's all about?
Having a fight card in Curitiba just screams success. Not only are the Brazilian people big fans of the sport, but Curitiba is the home of Anderson Silva and Mauricio Rua, two current UFC title holders.
If you throw in the sheer number of Brazilian fighters in the UFC, you could probably make a fight card with only Brazilians on it and it would be awesome.
I don't feel the need to defend this choice at all, as I'm assuming all of you agree with me.
However, if you think Rio de Janeiro should be first, rest assured. There is talk of a UFC event going to Rio as early as this summer.
Another city that would be instrumental to the UFC gaining a stronghold in Europe, Madrid has both the population and an arena the UFC could hold fights in.
The only real downfall to having fights here is the relative lack of MMA noise emanating from Spain.
I think I speak for all MMA fans when I ask, are there even any Spanish MMA fighters?
Perhaps getting regular UFC exposure, even if it's only UFC Unleashed, would be enough to get the MMA blood flowing in that part of the world.
Without national MMA attractions, the UFC could crash and burn in that country.
Moscow. The name itself roughly translates to the English word "genius."
Having a UFC event in Moscow is such a great idea that I can't believe it hasn't been done before. During MMA's dominance period, many big-name fighters have come out of Russia, USSR or Belarus.
Technically, they're all different, but I used the word "technically," a word which here means "I'm too lazy to explain how."
Although he is credited as being German, Denis Siver was actually born in Omsk, Russia. Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko, both good fighters, came from the USSR before it disbanded.
And finally, Andrei Arlovski, known for having a jaw weaker than wet bread, was born in Belarus before becoming one of the most well-known MMA fighters ever.
And those aren't the only good fighters from the Russia area. Sergei Kharitonov, Vladimir Matyushenko, Igor Vovchanchyn and Oleg Taktarov are all Russian fighters who made their names in MMA. I'd also like to throw Mirko Filipovic's name in there, although he is a native Croatian.
How would the UFC feel if they stumbled on the next Fedor Emelianenko? We'll never know until they do, and for that to happen, the UFC needs to get to Russia.
Though Thailand isn't well-known for producing MMA fighters, they do produce fantastic Muay-Thai kickboxers.
The UFC could create themselves an excellent fan base in Thailand, as well as establish themselves to the Thai boxers who had their doubts about joining MMA.
Imagine a world-class Thai-boxer, trained from a young age in BJJ, with great wrestling skills. Yeah, I just described Jose Aldo, but are you telling me the UFC wouldn't want more fighters like him right about now?
I could babble on and on about how the UFC needs to have an event in Rio because of their staggering number of Brazilian fighters.
I could make the claim that having an event in Rio would be great for business. I'd be right, of course.
But, I think I'm going to sit this one out and let this picture say it all for me.
Oh, and the nude beaches.
The UFC, well-known in most other places in the world, is relatively shut out from China.
The only connection they have with the place is Zhang Tie Quan, a lightweight that was scouted and picked up by the WEC. If he becomes a big star in the UFC, I would bet money that Dana White uses him to spearhead a Chinese UFC production or something of that sort.
And what better place to do it than in Hong Kong? Look at that skyline, and then tell me no.