Thursday, June 14, 2012

UFC hopes to follow up on the EFC's success in South Africa

Global expansion tops Zuffa's agenda for the future. The mixed martial arts company is currently pursuing an "aggressive" expansion plan that will take it to several countries over the course of the coming year. The UFC already has events scheduled in the UK and Australia on its schedule. These are both westernized countries that the UFC has previously visited and has established a strong, loyal following.

And let's not forget Brazil! Their MMA fandom goes without explanation. There's also Sweden, where the UFC staged UFC on Fuel 2 back in April. A Swedish return is also on the radar.

Additionally, India, China (Macau), and South Africa stand as UFC virgins. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Super Fight League has boasted huge success over just two events in India.

China is the world's booming economy. The Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation, or "RUFF", for short, claims exclusive rights to hold events in mainland China, so it looks like Zuffa has its eyes set on Macau for their Chinese excursion. Legend FC has established itself firmly in Macau.

As for South Africa, this is a new mention on the UFC's to-do list. South African MMA doesn't get much press here in the States. However, right here at, yours truly has been tracking their premiere mixed martial arts promotion, the Extreme Fighting Championship.

I've been covering the EFC here on FightJerk for some time now, and all along I've been expressing how stateside fans have been sleeping on this organization. They offer free internet streams, all of which have been without disappointment. But, it looks like I'm not the only one here in the US who's taken note of the EFC's massive success in South Africa. BloodyElbow quoted Dana White, who commented on their plans to visit South Africa:
"We're about to launch a deal down in South Africa. Actually, mixed martial arts is huge in South Africa right now. There's a show down there now that I just heard about that's doing 1.2 million views every time out. The sport is booming all over the world and yes, South Africa's next. That's where we're going,"
The same article also goes on to quote Mike Chiappetta (MMA Fighting) on MMA in South Africa:
"The show (White) is referring to, Extreme Fighting Championship, has so far produced 14 events. According to a news report, a recent March event drew 1.6 million viewers -- 25.9 percent of the television audience -- a rating that beat popular sports like rugby and cricket."
It should also be noted that last August the EFC signed an agreement with FX, the same network that broadcasts the UFC's non-PPV events . The EFC-FX deal broadcasts all EFC events throughout the African continent. I saw the writing on the wall when it happened -- it was inevitable that the Fox connection would draw the UFC to EFC territory. So, don't be surprised when you see popular EFC names like Costa Ionnou, Norman Wessels, and Demarte Pena on a UFC-South Africa card.

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