(“What were you saying about a solar-powered flashlight, YOU SON OF A BITCH??” / Pudz-Sapp photo via Sherdog)
Long dominated by embarrassing freak show fights involving beefed-up circus strongmen, the Polish MMA scene could use an injection of legitimacy. Luckily, the UFC is looking to hold its first event there next October in the city of Lodz, according to an MMAJunkie report citing UFC executive vice president Garry Cook. A date and venue have not yet been confirmed.
The Poland event will be part of the UFC’s 2014 “European Tour,” in which Ireland, Sweden, Germany, and even Turkey will host smaller-scale events focusing on local talent. As Junkie explains:
The tour is expected to include a half-dozen European cities and will have a unique look and feel, compared to other UFC shows. Additionally, the start times won’t be geared toward North American audiences (in other words, expect late-morning/early-afternoon broadcast times in the U.S. and Canada), and local fighters will be signed to help fill out the regional cards.
Cook says he hopes the cards will accomplish the goal of giving fight fans around the globe a chance to enjoy the live-event experience. “We’re never short on people who want to see great fights,” Cook said. “The demand is there.”
The UFC’s new international plans mark the final shift from the promotion’s old strategy of every show being marketed as a must-see event to a new reality in which some cards are simply irrelevant for North American viewers. (Judging by the Fox Sports 2 ratings for the last Fight Night card in Manchester, it seems like most of you have already gotten that memo.)