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UFC set to invade Japan on February 26

MMAFighting.com’s Dan Herbertson reported today that the UFC unfurled another HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT at a press conference in Japan: There will be a UFC show in Japan on February 26, 2012.

UFC President Dana White and Zuffa LLC Asia Executive Vice President and Managing Director Mark Fischer made the announcement on Tuesday at the Shinjuku Wald 9 Theater, revealing that the world’s leading MMA promotion will head to the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on February 26, 2012 .

The entire Japanese UFC roster – Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki, Michihiro Omigawa, Takanori Gomi, Riki Fukuda, and Takeya Mizugaki, were said to be possibilities for the Japanese event by Fischer but the official card is scheduled to be announced in November.

The Saitama Super Arena, the former home of the defunct Pride Fighting Championships and current home to DREAM, will be configured for 20,000 seats.

To fit with American broadcast plans, the UFC Japan event is scheduled to begin 10:00 a.m. local time, with the main card running from 12:00 noon to approximately 3:00 p.m.

This will be the first UFC show in Japan since UFC 29 happened in 2000, one of those pre-Zuffa “September 10th” years that no one really even remembers anymore. Now that DREAM is in extremely deep shit financially, the UFC seems to be trying to bring some of that big-show flair back to Japan. However, there is no word yet on whether they will have one of the Fertittas in a big diaper hitting a gong or Lenne Hardt (boy, what I wouldn’t give to listen to her taking a massive dump) as ring announcer.

Perhaps it was DREAM’s recent failure to flourish that caused the Yakuza to back off of its previous “we’ll throw ninja stars right through your eyes if you run shows here” stance. Perhaps the UFC’s new Asian content distribution partners also have some friends who have fewer full-length fingers than they have testicles. The one thing that’s for sure is that the UFC has been trying to crack the Japanese market (and necessarily the Yakuza barrier) for a long fucking time. Mainly as an ego thing, but it’s nice to know Dana White’s fragile id will be less testy now that he’s nipped this in the butt.

The UFC Japan event will be timed to mesh with live American PPV plans, and Dan Herbertson points out on twitter that this will suck for fans in Japan. Obviously, the UFC knows what side its bread is buttered on, and obviously the UFC’s butter comes straight from the udders of delicious, growth-hormone-infused, American fans with one click PPV ordering. Because of the event’s timing and because of factors such as the lack of a good TV deal in Japan, a UFC show or two per year won’t be enough to make MMA as popular in Japan as it once was during the Japanese boom years. But at least us Americans MMA fans will have the excuse we’ve been looking for to go buy panties from vending machines, stay at love hotels, and peruse tentacle porn at great length.

  • CAP

    Bout time they get this going before all their japanese draws retire or get ran out of the UFC. Reem or Fedor would be good to have on this card. Fedor fighting for UFC in Japan would be some bizarre parallel universe shit. Too bad it won’t happen.

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    Really there’s no other way to run an event these days. It has to be live or the events are spoiled in the west – there are just  too many media outlets (social and otherwise) that will run the results. Unless you turn off your phone, TV, computer and radio you won’t be able to make it to broadcast time without being spoiled – not to mention idiot friends telling you the results directly as they come over to watch the fights. Knowing the results sucks so much worse then having to watch a live event in the morning. So much worse.

    So – if you don’t live in the western hemisphere that sucks for you. However, you’re probably used to watching events in the extreme hours of the day by now so suck it up and start drinking early in the morning. We want our content delivered at regular MMA times and (for now) the PPV buy is king.

    I just hope whatever demon Japan pissed off in 2011 stops fucking with them long enough to throw an event over there.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    I know Zach Arnold has pissed all over this – especially Dana literally phoning it in – but I’m interested in seeing how it goes down.  Production, arena vibe, ,everything.

    If CroCop doesn’t get too badly smashed/subbed by Flabmaster Flash do they add him to this card?  We’ve gotta assume Wandy’s a lock, despite the Lebening, right?

    Who else?  A Nog, perhaps?

  • agentsmith

    The entire Japanese UFC roster – Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki, Michihiro Omigawa, Takanori Gomi, Riki Fukuda, and Takeya Mizugaki, were said to be possibilities for the Japanese event by Fischer but the official card is scheduled to be announced in November.

    All of whom except Hioki are currently riding at least one UFC loss.  There could be a tsunami-sized body count after this one.

  • dick

    While it’s true that the Australia events were timed for American broadcasts but were still embraced by the populace/local media, Herbertson was also saying that it remains to be seen whether Japanese fans will warm up to the schedule change. People in Japan may still show up to the first couple of events, but will they keep showing up after a few early wakeups? I guess we’ll see.

  • G Funk

    Holy Chit! A Richard(Cock) post that’s not a book long? Come-on peepee, you could’ve hooked somting to drag on yes?

    And Dana & co. have learned nothing from Brazil and are pussing out once again! 20,000 for the super arena?

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    ^^^The UFC pussed out a bit in Brazil, but I think the economy and general interest in MMA is a little better there than in Japan right now. Plus, the Saitama Super Arena can accommodate up to 36 000 people if they were to sell than many tickets (they won’t) – which would still be f’n impressive.

    However, it would be foolish to go for a larger arena show in Japan when the country has been devastated on a mass level and the MMA scene there is all but obsolete. There are no TV deals, no local events and everyone is radioactive in the northeast. Settling for a reasonably sized (30,000+) venue is probably a good call when the UFC hasn’t been there in 12 years and the country looks like it just went through WWIII.

  • glassjawsh

    really interested to see if the UFC gives all the japanese fighters the bisping treatment. honestly wouldn’t mind seeing all those names listed above smash a few cans (as long as it’s not a pay per view)

  • scissors61

    gonna be nice to watch a UFC without any booing

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    the problem with having them fight cans, is if they lose (and most of them already have) they’ve lost to nobodies and then you kill the already radiation-poisoned market.  If they lose to guys of some cred then it’s not as depressing for the Nippon natives.  But that’s just my twisted perspective on it.

  • iamphoenix

  • frickshun

    I’d like some toast with…….Butters!!

  • bakapoki

    I’ve been living in Japan for years and am psyched about a live event. It’s funny that these other internet media cunts are already shitting all over it and saying it sucks for Japanese when they don’t even fucking live here! It’s not that unusual for MMA cards to start during the day here anyway – like the huge new years eve shows which are like 8 hours long. At least now there will be the OPTION to actually check it out live or just wait until its shown later that night on TV. That Herbert dude needs to wipe his gash and stop hating.

  • CAP

    I want breakfast

  • glassjawsh

    DJ – history would suggest that the Japanese likes them some squash matches. basically Dana should give the Japanese people what they’ll actually watch akiyama vs the bukkake monster) not what he thinks they want (actual competitive matches)

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