by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When talk of expansion for the UFC comes up it usually revolves around the international footprint extending to countries like China, India, and Europe. UFC president Dana White assures fans in the United States though that he hasn’t forgotten about them, indicating a slew of new cities could have the Octagon planted in their homes soon enough.
Rumors about a proposed show in Indianapolis in September popped up over the weekend and while White stopped short of confirming the show, he did say that there are several markets on the UFC’s radar in the near future.
“(Indianapolis) is a city we’ve wanted to go to for a long time. I mean there, Pittsburgh, some of these new cities we’re always trying to go to places we haven’t been to yet, and hopefully we pull that one off,” said White. “San Antonio we’re looking at actually.”
UFC vice president Marc Ratner confirmed with MMAWeekly.com in Toronto earlier this week that the company has already had talks about bringing the UFC to Pittsburgh when the new 18,000-plus seat Consol Energy Center opens. He added that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has been a great partner and that’s exactly what they hope for when going to any city or state.
White knows that going into new places isn’t as easy as picking a spot on the map and then showing up. Tedious Research is done to make sure that when the UFC goes anywhere, it’s going to be a success.
“We put a lot into deciding where we’re going to go,” White said. “We don’t just (expletive) throw a dart on a wall, or like Strikeforce go ‘they went there so we’ll go there too!’ We don’t do that. We pull numbers on how we do on TV, how we do on pay-per-view, what they’re economy looks like, we look at a lot of different things before we go into a market.”
One area that has been mentioned in the past is Seattle, but according to White fans in Washington may want to make the trip to Vancouver because their city will probably be on hold for a while.
“We’ve talked about Seattle before, but we’re going to Vancouver right now so it would be a while before we’d hit Seattle,” White commented.
Vancouver is the next step in the expansion of the Canadian market, and of course the UFC announced the opening of a Canadian office earlier this week with Tom Wright leading the charge in Toronto. The North American expansion is still far from over as Mexico is another place the UFC has its sights set on as well.
“We’re working on Mexico City,” said White. “We’re actually opening one of the next UFC gyms, it’s going to be in Mexico City too.”
The UFC train continues to roll on and 2010 is sure to see the promotion opening more new markets before the year closes out.