UFC President Dana White announced late Wednesday night at a press conference in Japan that the company has signed a ground-breaking development deal with VTJ to promote and operate a new tournament series projected to premiere later this year.
The Vale Tudo Japan series began in 1994 and was run by SHOOTO, which now is the VTJ series, provided Japanese fighters the opportunity to compete against fighters from all over the world. The winner of the inaugural show, which is comparable to UFC's The Ultimate Fighter competition, will earn a UFC contract.
“Much like The Ultimate Fighter, this series will continue to cultivate and popularize top talent for us in new markets. The round-robin tournament concept is going to make for amazing fights, with a lot at stake," White said in a release. "Every fight will matter, every performance will count. I am so excited to be back in Japan."
The tournament will feature fighters in the bantamweight (135 pounds) and featherweight (145 pounds) divisions and will air on Japanese terrestrial TV, which will potentially bring the action into the homes of millions of Japanese fans.
This new partnership will allow the UFC to find the best talent in Japan and allow those fighters to compete on the biggest stage in MMA in the Octagon.
More details will be released in September when the UFC comes to Japan with an event headlines by Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt. The full roster, local and international broadcast information and other details will be released at that time.
White finished up a tour across Asia which ended in Tokyo on Wednesday.
ALSO CHECK OUT PREVIEWS FOR: