Excited for the new season of TUF kicking off this Friday? No? How about the first season of TUF OZ vs UK on September 19th? No again, huh. Well then I’m sure this will excite you: TUF India!
At a press conference held today in Mumbai, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® and the SONY SIX® channel have confirmed a wide-ranging, strategic partnership which brings the fastest growing sports organization in history to India.
SIX is the destination for all UFC programming in India, from live events featuring the biggest names in the sport to athlete profile shows including the seminal Countdown and Primetime. SIX will also feature the greatest fights in the UFC’s 19-year history with UFC Unleashed.
UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said: “We are very excited to partner with SIX as the UFC expands into India. We look forward to working with them to not only further expand the UFC’s fanbase here, but also to find and develop local talent and, ultimately, bring regular live events to India.”
Mr. Man Jit Singh, CEO Multi Screen Media, the parent company of SIX, said “We are delighted to bring the UFC – the fastest growing sports organization in the world – to India. India has a lot of appetite for new sports and we are confident that SIX will skew younger audiences with the special programming of the Ultimate fighting Championship on the channel.”
A cornerstone of the new partnership will be the production of an all-Indian edition of the Ultimate Fighter, the UFC’s long-running reality TV show where 16 of the most talented unsigned martial artists compete for a contract with the UFC. Previous TUF winners have gone on to win UFC world champions and become international superstars.
Okay, I understand. It’s hard for North American fans to get excited about more TUF when we’re currently getting blasted with Guantanamo torture levels of the stuff. But remember it was also what saved the UFC from financial ruin. Lorenzo Fertitta knows this intimately, because he was the dude 40 million bucks in the hole with the UFC when TUF magically turned the sport around and propelled it into the juggernaut it is today.
He doesn’t care about people on Sherdog going ‘More TUF? Eugh.” Because this TUF isn’t for them. This TUF is for India. And if it manages to pull off a Gupta vs Bhatnagar moment, it could open the sport up in yet another region of the world. I have no idea what kind of market there’d be for it due to my complete ignorance of that part of the world. But I’m sure the billionaire businessman has taken a look into it and has established that there’s a little bit of money to be made.