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Lorenzo Fertitta quotes on UFC’s international expansion plans in 2011

By Zach Arnold | January 14, 2011

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I would encourage you to watch the video and give your support to everyone in the MMA Fighting family. Given the rough business circumstances with AOL Fanhouse, I think showing appreciation for the hard work of those over at the site is a well-deserved gesture.

That, along with the fact that Ariel’s interview with Mr. Fertitta is really, really good. (They spend the majority of it talking about plans to get MMA legalized in New York in 2011.)

ARIEL HELWANI: “Because you do deal with the worldwide expansion on the UFC, Dana (White) mentioned in the press conference that you’re opening offices in China and some other countries overseas. He mentioned Japan. We haven’t heard that before. What are your plans in Japan?”

LORENZO FERTITTA; “You know, we’ve actually been on television in Japan since we bought the company. We were distributed in literally two countries in 2001, in the United States on DirecTV and Dish and in Japan at the same time. Sense we took over the company, we’ve developed a relationship with WOWOW, which is a subscription TV network in Japan. It’s been a very successful relationship. One of the things we always wanted to do is figure out a way to go back to Japan and hold a live event. Now that we’ve hired Mark Fischer who ran the NBA in China and all over Asia for the last 10 years, very successful, he’s made a lot of progress over just the last couple of months. Now, we certainly don’t have anything in place, but the goal would be to potentially have a live event in Asia by the end of this year, so we’re working on that.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Are there any other new markets overseas? Dana has hinted at Scotland. We have heard maybe you are going back to Abu Dhabi, that’s not official yet. Any other new markets? We get asked these questions, Ireland, all the time, that you can talk about that the UFC will be holding an event in 2011?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “You know, really right now it’s just a matter of prioritizing things and figure out, you know, the right timing that makes sense to do these things. Scotland is a priority. You know, we have a huge fan base. We’ve wanted to go there for a number of years. The problem we’ve had so far is they don’t really have the facilities that we would like to have to go there. You know, typically we like to go in an arena like The O2 where you can get 20,000 people there. My understanding is that Scotland has a venue that is anywhere from 6-8,000 people. Certainly we could do that but it’s not necessarily maximizing the size of the event that it could potentially be. With that said, we will make Scotland a priority and we will be there. Beyond that, you know obviously we have a lot of focus right now on brazil. We announced the fight in Rio. We’d like to do something in Mexico in the near term. In addition to that, you know, obviously Asia is really the big focus. You know whether it be in China, whether it be in Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, we’re obviously we’ve talked about Japan, potentially somewhere in Malaysia potentially so, you know, it’s a matter of just trying of prioritize things and coming to work every day trying to figure out what makes the most sense, so it’s a big puzzle, to put it that way.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “Lorenzo Fertitta quotes on UFC’s international expansion plans in 2011”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    2011 is going to be a weird year for the UFC.

    1) It is highly unlikely the UFC will match it’s PPV numbers from 2010.

    2) They will be hosting a lot of “Loser Leaves The UFC” fights in order to trim down their roster.

    3) They need to figure out how to work with 7 weight classes now, and there is always bumps in the road when that happens.

    4) I believe NY will get legalized in 2011, but then that market has to start being better used.

    5) International Expansion is really still in it’s early stages, and it will always have problems as they figure out what markets are best and how to maximize each market.

    2011 is most likely going to be a transitional year for the UFC overall….. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. I just think it means things could get interesting in a little bit. So far the PPV cards outside of Penn/Fitch look amazing on paper. One of the benefits of having 2 more weight classes.

    But I don’t think they have fully figured out how to work internationally yet…..

    • EJ says:

      “1) It is highly unlikely the UFC will match it’s PPV numbers from 2010.”

      Not really, the fact is while 2010 was another big year for the UFC it also could have been bigger if not for multiple injuries hurting several cards buyrates.

      If the UFC has even a relatively healthy year they should once again break their own ppv record. Already they have stacked cards that will do much better than the one’s from last year.

  2. Fightlinker says:

    Yeah, they almost have UK / Euro / Oz figured out, but Asia is a whole other ball of wax. Especially if they try to go to areas that have NO ufc caliber fighters.

    oh, and the WOWOW deal is shite.

    • Steve4192 says:

      To be fair, prior to the UFC committing to the UK /Europe / Australia, those countries didn’t have much in the way of UFC caliber fighters either.

  3. Oh Yeah says:

    What’s the deal at Fanhouse?

  4. IceMuncher says:

    Lorenzo is a great interview. Dana is off-the-cuff and and connects extremely well with the fans, but Lorenzo really brings a sense of class and professionalism. It’s a nice one-two punch that they should exploit more.

    • Dave says:

      I agree, Lorenzo needs to talk more. Dana is always cutting the same interview, I feel. Lorenzo has a very level-headed approach to discussing this stuff that even if he is full of it you can’t tell.

  5. Ligerbomb27 says:

    Excellent interview. Let’s hear some more from Lorenzo, definitely.

    After Dana White called Fedor a “fraud” an denounced his entire career, I realized that his sense of maturity and logic is on par with a teenager on the Sherdog forum – I haven’t listened to a single interview from him since.

    I know it’s probably good for ratings having a very loud, obnoxious, Mr. McMahon-like character on the mic, but I’m getting a little tired of it.

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