UFC signs new distribution deal, aims for Japan event in 2011

After more than a decade, the UFC aims to make a return trip to Japan as soon as later this year or early 2012.

Mark Fischer, the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Zuffa’s Asian Operations Division, made the revelation on Monday during a small press conference held in Tokyo, explaining that though there is no date currently set, the promotion plans to visit the land of the Rising Sun as soon as possible.

“I would say that we’re not ready to announce anything yet but that we’re hoping to have an event later this year or early next year in Japan,” Fischer explained. “It’s a step-by-step process. It doesn’t happen overnight. We want to build up a good fan base, grow our media exposure, and we want fighters from different nationalities in the UFC before marketing to that nation and bringing in the big event.”

With this news came the official announcement of a new content distribution deal with TV Bank, and NTT Plata that will see the UFC brand expand throughout Asia.  The local distributors will offer increased content through cell phones, video options, and On Demand services.

“Today is a very important step in both expanding the number of Japanese fighters in the UFC as well as expanding our media platforms to bring the UFC to more fans than ever before. We want to make sure that any fan who wants to watch the UFC has the best access they can and, at the same time, reach new fans,” explained Fischer.

While the UFC has hosted four prior events in Japan, none have taken place under the promotion’s current ownership.  The last event on Asian soil was UFC 29: Defense of the Belts, held on December 16, 2000 at Differ Ariake Arena in Tokyo.  Tito Ortiz successfully defended his title, submitting Yuki Kondo, while Chuck Liddell defeated Jeff Monson via Unanimous Decision.  Pat Miletich, Matt Hughes, Evan Tanner, and others also held spots on the card.


  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/MMAW/ MMAW

    It seems like open season on the Japanese market, the UFC making moves and also Strikeforce making PPV deals.
    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out….

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Mokoko/ mokoko

    I bett Japanese fans hate Dana and UFC after destroying the best MMA organisation in the world i won’t be suprised if fans trow eggs and tomatoes on Dana’s head

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Rafael_Roberto/ Rafael_Roberto

    Man when Takanori Gomi or Yoshiro Akiyama enters the Octagon the crowd will go wild

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/MD777/ MD777

    As a business man or Navy sailed all over the world you knew it people all over the world going nut about Rock band and Boxing as well as a big welcome to the revolution of MMA,imo

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/MMA-ADDICT/ MMA ADDICT

    that would be cool hopefully they have the Japanese entrance’s

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Endo/ Endo

    They’ll have to up their production values if they want to compete with a the memories of PRIDE.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/David-Saucier/ David Saucier

    Thats really weak man Pride failed because they spent way to much money, and the people themselves didnt support it well enough when it was around.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/MMAW/ MMAW

    That would be awesome if they revived PRIDE for Japan events.
    UFC presents: PRIDE Resurrection.
    Have a massive PRIDE-like production. The UFC can put their own spin on it like having a big octagon ring (i mean roped, not a cage)
    Maybe i’m asking too much but also bring in the footstomps and soccer kicks.
    I’m not too sure if the usual UFC format is popular with the Japanese, so the UFC really need to do their research to make this work.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Codemaster/ codemaster

    Most people don’t realize how tough it is to do business in Japan.

    You always have to have partner with a Japanese ‘sponsor’ or you won’t go anywhere. Also, it is no exaggeration to say that the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) are very powerful in combat sports. In addition to that, there are a whole line of hands waiting to be paid off behind the scenes in a web of corruption.

    When the UFC originally bought Pride, they had all these wonderful plans of holding events in Japan until they ran into a cultural/social/corruption-filled brick wall. After unsuccessfully trying to work through all the obstacles, Dana finally said screw this! and walked off with all the talent and let the Pride name starve and die.

    The UFC is trying the gradual approach now, and being smart by hiring Mark Fischer to open doors for them. Fischer has been in Asia for 20 years and he helped sell the NBA in Asia prior to his UFC gig. So now Dana is being smarter, and playing the local game, rather than barging in and declaring “this is how it’s going to be!”

    For years, Zuffa couldn’t crack Ontario, until they hired a former longtime CFL commisioner to do the political legwork and schmoozing. Within months MMA was legalized.

    Dana White may connnect to MMA fans very well, but in many political/diplomatic circles his abrasive personality does not work.

    So it is good to see them being savvy now about how they expand internationally. I credit Lorenzo.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Endo/ Endo

    “with a the memories of PRIDE”

    It’s a me. Mario!