(I can already hear her voice, caressing me like a newborn and telling me that everything will be OK.)
When Dana White first announced that the UFC planned to hold both a live event in Japan and Las Vegas on the same night, many of us sat back and scratched our heads, wondering what in the hell “The Baldfather” was hoping to achieve with such a maneuver and more importantly, how he would pull it off. When we found out we would be treated to a free Japan card followed by a Vegas PPV card, most of us rejoiced, but still found ourselves doubting the likelihood of such a exorbitant event actually coming to fruition. Well, we hate to say we told you so, but as it turns out, you won’t have to roll out of bed at 10 a.m. to catch the free Japan card. Matter of fact, you won’t be getting a free card at all.
In an effort to ensure that their return to Japan goes successfully, Zuffa has not only elevated the card to pay-per-view status, but has signed a deal with Japanese advertising mogul Dentsu Inc. to help promote the card to as wide a fan base as possible. Currently, the UFC has yet to achieve a mass television deal in Japan, and is only broadcast on the rather private WOWOW and NTT Plala’s Hikari networks. Though it has yet to be reached, a mass distribution deal could open the gates for local programming in Japan, which would be a huge boost to the UFC’s ever-expanding market.
Though we will now be forced to pay for the card, you gotta believe this is a good move by DW and company, who at first seemed as if they were underselling the Japan card to generate interest in the Vegas one. Considering the globe spanning events that the UFC has planned for next year, not to mention the enormous following MMA has in Japan, it would be pretty foolish to undersell or under-promote the first Japanese card in over ten years. But from the looks of it, everything is going to be fine, until the injury curse comes back that is.
UFC Japan is set to air February 26th, 2012.