The UFC’s expansion into international markets started several years ago, but it appears the first international “Ultimate Fighter” series will finally debut in 2011.
UFC President Dana White has long talked about doing a version of the popular reality series in other countries, and with the plan of adding more shows in the future, it’s a perfect way to find new talent.
“The “Ultimate Fighter” is going to start airing in every country. We’re going to start doing “Ultimate Fighter” U.K., “Ultimate Fighter” Canada, the “Ultimate Fighter” Philippines, we’re doing it everywhere,” White stated on a conference call Tuesday.
“We’re doing nothing but cultivating new talent.”
The UFC roster is currently under a flux of changes after the merger with the WEC to close out 2010. The planned slimming of fighters under contract has seen a few fan favorites get the boot recently, but that doesn’t mean the UFC isn’t going to grow again.
The plan according to White is to add more shows and have more international flavor added, and they may even see the day when they hold a show in Las Vegas while also putting on a show simultaneously in a country like Australia.
With the addition of new shows comes the addition of new talent, and a lot of that could come by way of the “Ultimate Fighter.”
As the company plans that expansion in 2011, the first version of the show will likely be headed to Southeast Asia.
“This year,” White confirmed about when an international “Ultimate Fighter” will debut. “I’m pretty sure the first one’s probably going to be the Philippines.”
The Philippines has become a hotbed for mixed martial arts over the last few years, and even UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre commented late last year that the area he’s seen the most rabid fan base was in the Philippines.
Now it’s a matter of seeing what kind of talent the area can produce, and while no details were released on Tuesday, the UFC President likely already had a plan in place to expand into the Philippines in 2011.