Odd but true - UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta wants to see Japanese promotions like DREAM and K-1 revitalised.
There’s a common misconception that the UFC wants to grind every other organisation into the dust. It doesn’t, it only wants to be number one. The UFC actually benefits from regions having a strong MMA scene, as they develop the talent which will go on to fill their roster.
As Fertitta explained to Asahi.com, “I think there needs to be an industry in Japan. Right now we are not set up to be able to do 10 or 12 events per year, so somebody does need to step up and fill the void.
“Recently [there have been] rumors that some of the existing companies aren’t doing very well financially. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I would hope that maybe we could hopefully reinvigorate… the market there to get more people interested in wanting to go to K-1 or Dream or something like that.”
Fertitta was commenting on the organisation’s recent visit to Japan, which was the UFC’s first show there since 1997. The February event - UFC 144 - was a success for the company and quickly showed that fears the Japanese fans would not go for a low production level show like the UFC (compared to PRIDE FC) were unfounded.
The UFC now hopes to make Japan a regular stop on its calendar but like other international regions, it is a question of getting the right schedule in place. Fertitta has in mind to stage “one big event and then do four to six smaller events” per year, but admits that there are so many variables at play that there is no guarantee of that coming off.