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.