Worried that the UFC is starting to take it’s eye off the ball a little bit with all these high profile negotiations and switchups? Bad, don’t concern yourself with that. Everything is going great and there’s no bottlenecks at all! Nothing is being lost in the shuffle. Except … hmmm … what was it again … oh yeah. That place they based international expansion out of. The UK.
Originally, talk was that the UK would see four to six events in 2011 and now that number is down to probably zero. The one date on October 15th that the company felt pretty confident about has now become the victim of what sounds like TV negotiation hardball from Spike TV:
The UFC chief was so close to making that card take place that he even announced on the ESPN UFC Podcast that there would “definitely be at least one event in the UK this year”.
However, problems emerged in May when the UFC’s US TV date was forced to change to a different, specific date, where misfortune would dictate no suitable venues in the UK were available. In one swift changing of the goalposts, the UFC went from having three venues to none.
As a result, Zelaznik admits the chances of a 2011 event now stand at “less than 20 per cent”, but he is still looking into every possibility, in order to find a solution that is growing increasingly unlikely.
“We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
I was expecting more from Zelaznik, a guy who looks like an evil commander on board the Death Star than the president of UFC UK. If he had to club a few Ewoks to get shit done, I expected him to do it. I guess when the year ends he can still say he accomplished some stuff. He got to go to Australia in February (fucker) and there’s still that vaporous Swedish event in November too, I guess. How’s 2012 looking?
“Yes, and maybe we shouldn’t have announced those plans but with us, from Dana and Lorenzo down, we give honest answers to honest questions. We’ve have advanced plans for a series of Fight Night style events for the UK and Ireland, and actually Europe, but we couldn’t get it over the line for this year but that’s still a major initiative for the UK office. We are looking at venues right now, and will be going to some cities that you will never have thought you’d see a UFC. But, if I was asked the question ‘How many UK shows do you think they will be in 2012?’, and I gave an honest answer I would again say it could be four or more.”
I DO NOT SHARE YOUR OPTIMISTIC APPRAISAL OF THE SITUATION.