Ultimate Fighting Championship imminent in South Africa
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been aggressive with its world expansion, and the promotion soon will add another part of the globe to its list.
UFC president Dana White on Tuesday said the company recently set its sights on South Africa and is close to launching a broadcast deal in the African country of nearly 50 million people.
Earlier this spring, the UFC announced a four-year broadcast deal in India. And with White's Tuesday announcement, the promotion soon will test the waters on yet another continent.
"We've been working on India, and we're already on television there," White said during a press conference in Denver for August's UFC 150 pay-per-view event. "And we're going to bring a live event there very soon. But literally three days ago – we're about to launch a deal down in South Africa."
White said MMA's popularity in South Africa played a part in the promotion's interest there, and he alluded to the Extreme Fighting Championship promotion in the country, which through 14 events has been finding television success.
"Actually, mixed martial arts is huge in South Africa right now," White said. "There's a show down there now that I just heard about that's doing [1.2 million] viewers every time it's on. The sport is booming all over the world, and South Africa is next. That's where we're going."
Along with April's announcement of the TV deal in India, the UFC earlier this year launched the first international edition of its flagship reality series "The Ultimate Fighter" in Brazil. And the promotion currently is scouting talent for the next international version of the show, which will pit fighters from Australia against those from the United Kingdom.
The UFC regularly visits Canada, the U.K., Australia and Brazil with major events. And in recent years, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Japan have seen shows, as well.
The UFC is on television in roughly 150 countries around the world and is broadcast in more than 20 languages. In the U.S., fights are shown on PPV, as well as on the FOX family of networks after a groundbreaking seven-year broadcast deal started this year.