By Zach Arnold | October 7, 2007
More bad news for the cursed UFC 78 New Jersey show – Hector Lombard can’t get a working visa.
Shu Hirata gives his latest thoughts on the Japanese fight scene.
Analyzing UFC’s attempt to get into the Japanese marketplace. Let me clear up one thing about UFC’s deal with WOWOW… UFC had been on WOWOW (Japan’s version of HBO) for a long time. This wasn’t a new deal for them. However, the deal ended after April’s UFC event in Manchester with Gabriel Gonzaga knocking out Mirko Cro Cop. WOWOW stated that UFC asked for a significant increase in fees to air the shows, so the network didn’t renew their deal. Now UFC is trying to work with WOWOW again, which was not a significant TV deal in the first place.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – UFC’s current product is simply not palatable for the Japanese marketplace, in my opinion. The promotion has not embraced Japanese-style professional wresting marketing and likely never will. Zuffa management has had trouble doing business in the Japanese marketplace (see the PRIDE debacle and the negative PR from it). My viewpoint is that the best UFC could hope for in regards to a Japanese show is running a building like Makuhari Messe in Chiba or Nippon Budokan. Any attempts to run Saitama Super Arena or larger buildings will likely create a negative PR situation in Japan. UFC had little good will going into Japan and after the events of this past week, things have gotten sour on a PR note. I’ve stressed this in past opinions and will continue to do so — people who seriously consider UFC automatically having the ability to run any sort of legitimate long-term operation in the Japanese marketplace (given the current behavior Zuffa has demonstrated in 2007) should reconsider that viewpoint, given how bad the PRIDE situation turned out to be.
After the way Zuffa handled the PRIDE situation, Japanese fans found themselves pulling a Denny Green by screaming, “They are who we thought they were!”
All you need to know about the current state of the Japanese fight scene is that K-1, which has been booking the Tokyo Dome for many years for the GP finals, has downgraded to Yokohama Arena this year.
Kakutolog has a great post (linking to several reports) about what some of the various Japanese opinions were about UFC’s attempts to run PRIDE in Japan. The dominant Japanese opinion (according to Kakutolog) is that the Japanese viewed Zuffa’s version of PRIDE as simply a tool to expand UFC into the marketplace (as opposed to running a full-fledged legitimate Japanese operation with its own identity). One Japanese report quoted a source with knowledge of the TV industry as saying that Zuffa was trying to package a set deal for both UFC & PRIDE programming to Nippon TV & WOWOW, with a supposed goal of getting UFC & PRIDE together for a golden time (prime time) slot on Nippon TV. However, negotiations reportedly didn’t go well because of the ‘different sense of values’ between the Japanese and their American counterparts. The TV industry source claimed that UFC at best could have gotten a Midnight time slot, but money became a big issue.
Brent Brookhouse explains the 10-point must system.
Sam Caplan is looking for more writers.
The latest news and notes on the Brazilian fight scene.
I’ve already had the toll man on the Bay Bridge propose marriage. I’ll take it as a good omen.
Some news and notes on the ZST front in Japan.
The Dayton Daily News is reporting that UFC is considering a March 1st date to return to Columbus, Ohio. I guess they needed to get a head start in ‘The Midwest’ after Bob Arum proclaimed UFC in trouble with Kelly Pavlik winning. That’ll show ‘em.
Steve Sievert in The Houston Chronicle has an article about WEC looking to add depth to their roster.
A new fight league is being marketed called Bonecrunch Fighting. The CEO called the fighters on his debut show last August “lousy” and says he’s put $100,000 USD into the league since January.
- The Fightworks Podcast: Ryan Jensen & Kyle Maynard interviews
- Sherdog: Rhelan Gracie goes down in Hawaii
- The Honolulu Advertiser: Ramos KOs Gracie in MMA event at Blaisdell Arena
- China Combat: MMA in Indonesia and Malaysia
- The Press of Atlantic City (NJ): The story behind the cancellation of Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott (a must-read)
- European Fight Network: ADCC submission fighting Finnish Open results