The UFC is reportedly considering the creation of a Japanese ‘mini series’ that would be used to develop talent in the region and introduce them to the Japanese audience.
Four smaller-scale shows per year would form the series, with name fighters in the headline slot and newer talent underneath them.
That’s according to the UFC Managing Director of Asian Operations, Mark Fischer, who says that Japan can be considered “the home of the martial arts” and thus deserves to hold events on a regular basis.
The events would fall outside the regular UFC numbered canon and would incorporate ‘Japan’ somewhere in their title.
Venues would be along the lines of those used for Fight Night and TUF Finale events, catering to around 5,000 spectators.
The UFC returned to Japan in February this year after a 12-year hiatus. The UFC 144 event was a success for the company, drawing 20,000 spectators.
Japanese MMA was once a thriving scene with 60,000 people regularly packing into the Saitama Arena for the Pride FC mega-events.
But went Pride FC went under it presaged the end of the Japanese MMA boom and since then both DREAM and Sengoku - purported successors to Pride FC - have gone under.
The UFC is different however, being a perceived American sports export and thus standing on different merits than homegrown Japanese events. As such it draws its own fan base and does not rely on the somewhat faddish Japanese general public in order to be financially viable.