The UFC still has some work to do on it’s international expansion model. Sure, when a region kills it (like Brazil) the UFC will go in full tilt. It doesn’t hurt that South America shares the same time zones as North America, an important factor when taking pay per view buys into consideration. But other regions? They’re lucky to get one event per year. Not terrible in the context of a traveling show hitting up different markets, but when you’re trying to establish the sport in these regions…
At least the guys in charge recognize this problem. Here’s Lorenzo Fertitta:
“We’ve got to bring the product there, but then we’ve also got to get past the fact that we kind of have this hit-and-run strategy. We’ll (bring an event there) and we’ll kill it, but then we’re not back until when? I don’t even know, we don’t even have anything scheduled. So how do we build a sustainable program with fight series in primetime in relevant cities that make sense on an ongoing basis?”
The UFC obviously has it’s optimal blueprint for trying to explode the sport in a new region: throw a TUF at them and hope for a Bonnar / Griffin moment. Past that though? Rumors of a special series of regionalized Fight Nights in places like Japan excited the hell out of everyone because it was a solution to Lorenzo’s hit-and-run problem. The UFC stops being a spectacle that comes to town once every year and a half and instead becomes a legit sport in the region. Something for regional athletes to aspire to. And that’s when international expansion goes from the UFC holding a couple of events around the world to being a truly global sport.