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Dana White Talks International Expansion and UFC Regional Titles

(Think cell phones are hard to operate now, Dana? Just wait until you try to use ones with Hindi and Mandarin keypads.)

On the heels of breaking into another new country and the ratings success of The Ultimate Fighter‘s first international version, UFC President Dana White is open to launching regional titles for the promotion. “The bottom line is as we start kicking off all these ‘Ultimate Fighters’ in other countries, it’s going to open up the floodgates for a lot more fighters, and guys are going to need a lot more experience,” MMA Junkie reports White as saying after Saturday’s event in Sweden.

“We talked about [regional champions],” he continued. “We talked about rankings — just like boxing, guys ranked in other countries. So you end up being ranked. I don’t know. You have UFC champions, and then you have guys that are ranked in different countries. It absolutely makes sense. In the big picture, long-term, it absolutely makes perfect sense.”

White said that there are markets that are “starved” for the UFC product and that he still intends to reach India and China. The plans may be embryonic at this stage, however, as White admits that creating the infrastructure for continued international expansion is challenging.

“We’ve talked about doing two shows at the same time. We’ve talked about doing a lot of stuff. But one of the things you guys have got to understand, the hardest part is the infrastructure,” White explained. “It’s creating all this new talent, and it’s not just fighters. It’s commentators. It’s [ring announcer Bruce] Buffer‘s position. Cameramen. All the things that go along with putting on the event that we put on. It’s a lot of work.”

What do you think of regional titles, nation? And what countries do you want to see the UFC head to next?

- Elias Cepeda

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RwilsonR- April 17, 2012 at 7:18 am
From a marketing perspective, I'm sure it would be easier to sell fights with regional champs. You can water down a European card, but sell it around a European title fight to the audience. However, I don't really like the idea, and it will lead to meaningless unification title fights. You'll get Cheik Kongo or Jon Olav Einemo as a European HW champ trying to talk their way into a unified HW title match withJDS that they don't deserve.
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skeletor- April 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm
I dont want to live in a world where Papi Abedi can be the swedsh champ or Congo could be the french champ or Marcus Davis could be the irish champ. To many weak regions to many weight classes.
martynunya- April 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm
What would be nice is a tournament format (similar to K-1) where each continent has qualification tournaments and feeds into the final. Better yet, have a World Cup of MMA every four years, plenty of international talent out there.
Sopapo- April 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm
one of the things i love of the UFC is the UNIQUE belt system. u know? 1 belt per division (in the ufc of course). Multiple belts usually suck because there's not only one belt that really matters, after a while you end up not caring for any ogf them. like in boxing.
The12ozCurls- April 16, 2012 at 11:12 am
I want to see TUF Africa - you know, out in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere - people living in mud huts and killing lions with blow-darts and spears. I mean real stone-age type stuff where they already have "tournaments" where the guys beat the shit outta eachother with big-ass sticks. I wanna see Mazigatti try and stop one of those fights. I also want to see the African "pranks" that would be played inside the fighter's hut. Like cobras in the bed or giant water-buffalo in the pool. Make that shit happen.
aprilevolve- April 16, 2012 at 10:56 am
amsterdamheavy- April 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Thailand is looking to make MMA illegal, or they just did, I forget.
Get Off Me- April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am
They should start the rankings system anyway..."In the mix" is one of my pet peeves...make it transparent so the fans can follow and become more invested in the sport.