UFC president Dana White has made no bones about his obsession with taking over the sports world. Following Saturday night’s UFC 118 event, the ambitious promoter announced they have hired a highly regarded former NBA China executive to head their Dedicated Asian Operations division.
“We just hired a guy gentleman named Mark Fischer and he’s the executive vice president and managing director of the Ultimate Fighting Championship Asia. He’s gonna run things over there,” White stated at the post-fight press conference.
“We’re in 500 million homes. I don’t know how many people realize that. We’re in 500 million homes on some form of television throughout the world. With this move and the things we’re working on now, it’ll put us in over a billion homes worldwide. I keep saying that this is gonna be the biggest sport in the world and people think I’m a lunatic. I’m telling you right now, when we’re on over a billion homes and counting and growing, wait and see what happens in the next 4 to 5 years.”
It will be Fischer’s responsibility to build a roster of local talent and develop relationships with the sports federations in the Orient, including the China National Wushu Federation.
“I’m delighted and honored to work with Dana and the Fertitta brothers (co-owners Frank and Lorenzo) to build the Ultimate Fighting Championship and our other businesses in Asia,” Fischer said. “It’s a fantastic market. I think we’re just scratching the surface. A lot martial arts began their tradition there. We’re very respectful of that.”
The Octagon has hosted four events in Asia , all of which took place in Japan. Although the world’s premier MMA promotion hasn’t held a show there in the past decade, he believes his experience and savvy will help speed up the Eastern invasion process.
“I was with the NBA in Asia for 12 years,” Fischer added. “Five or six of those were building the NBA in China. I think as successful as the NBA was there, what we were able to do with that, I think we can just as much with the UFC and more.”
Clearly, China and their 1.3 billion citizens appear to be their primary target. Although, Fischer sees other segments of the continent as potential hot spots as well.
“I think we’re going to study the market,” he stated. “Definitely China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia. All of these countries have tremendous potential. There’s been tremendous interest, tremendous activity in MMA, and I think it’s a question of bringing the UFC brand there and the way we do things being the global leader in the sport.”