UFC plans aggressive 2014 expansion into Asia
By John Morgan, USA TODAY Sports
"In the 20-year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Asia has hosted seven company events. If all goes as planned, the No. 1 mixed martial arts promotion could visit the continent seven times in the next 12 months.
"The first event of the new year, "UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim," takes place Saturday at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Featuring a welterweight fight between Tarec Saffiedine (14-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Hyun Gyu Lim (12-3-1, 2-0) the 10-fight card airs in the U.S. on UFC Fight Pass (9 a.m. ET), the recently launched digital network, and UFC Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer believes it will mark the beginning of a banner year for the promotion.
"'We've got Saturday's event in Singapore, and we're looking at a couple of events this year in Macau," Fischer told USA TODAY Sports. "We're looking, as well, at a new multi-year agreement to come to Japan at least once a year. We're in discussions with partners in Seoul, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta. I don't expect all of these to happen in 2014, but we'll be coming to all of these places soon enough. Mainland China is also on the horizon.'"