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Author: Michael Zand

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Positive Signs Point to UFC Events in Italy, Spain and France in Near Future

Source: mmafighting.com

Mar 15, 2012 - The UFC will continue its European expansion next month when the promotion makes its debut in Stockholm, Sweden for UFC on FUEL TV 2.

And according to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, the organization hopes to debut in a few more European countries by the end of next year.

"I think Italy will be next," Fertitta said. "Me and Lawrence [Epstein, the UFC's general counsel] went out to Italy and met with the owners. There's really only one venue in Italy that makes sense for us. There's an arena right outside of Milan, it's owned by a family, and once again, they had these misconceptions about what this was. 'Oh my gosh, you're going to have these guys get in there and fight in a cage,' and all this other stuff. But we went out there, sat down with them, explained who we were, what our background was, safety, regulation, all those things. [We] invited them to the fight in Birmingham [for UFC 138], and they were blown away. They said, 'You guys are welcome any time you want.'

"So I get an e-mail from Lawrence earlier this week. They're having a fight later this month; they've already sold 15,000 tickets."

That event, the first for the upstart promotion Oktagon, will take place on March 24 at the Forum Assago di Milano and will be headlined by Valentijn Overeem vs. Michael Kita.

"The thing that was encouraging to me was I didn't really know where the sport was in that market yet," Fertitta added. "I didn't know how developed it was. We just did a deal with Sky Sports there about six months ago and the ratings have been really good. It's all working. So I think by next year we could go there and do something."

In addition to Italy, Fertitta was optimistic that the UFC could hold an event in Spain for the first time, sooner rather than later.

"We just launched in Spain on a major market where we launched The Ultimate Fighter, and I just got an e-mail this morning, ratings continue to go up. I think we're doing well over 250,000 viewers, which is a big number for that market given the population. So that's another market that we'll be looking to go to pretty soon."

And after spending a considerable amount of time trying to penetrate the French market, Fertitta believes the organization is finally making progress in that region.

"France is a massive opportunity," he said. "[The] Sports Ministry is definitely positive on the issues. The issue is a little bit different because here in the United States, the government actually regulates the sport and they have an entity that regulates it. In a lot of these other countries, it's different. They are more in tune with the Olympic style of regulating things where you have a federation. So they're fine with it, as long as there is a federation put in place to oversee the rules and regulations. 

"So a federation has been established, so it's just a matter of getting it recognized by the Sports Ministry, which we actually have met with, and they have been very positive. David Douillet [France's Sports Minister] is an ex-Olympic Gold Medalist in judo, so he understands the sport. We're very enoucraged that you'll be eating croissants watching the UFC pretty soon."

Thus far, the UFC has held 14 events in Europe: 11 in the United Kingdom, two in Germany and one in Ireland.

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UFC's Marc Ratner wants 'international federation' to regulate events

 

 

Source: MMAjunkie

by Steven Marrocco on Mar 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm ET

Thus far, regulators haven't been able to keep up with the UFC's aggressive international expansion.

Events in Canada, Australia and –next month – Sweden, are regulated by an independent regulatory body. But in places where no athletic commission exists, the promotion has taken that role for events in the U.K., Brazil and Japan.

UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Mark Ratner would like to see a single agency take the lead in regulating international events, overseeing officials, conducting drug tests and enforcing the unified rules of MMA. He said the promotion is pushing for an "international federation" to do the job.

"We'd like to get it over to France, and someday to Brazil and to Italy, so we have one set of rules, one set of medical standards," "That's our long-term goal. We do need a worldwide federation."

France, Italy and Spain are among the international destinations the promotion is actively targeting for future shows. A return to Abu Dhabi is also on the radar, Ratner said, though an exact date is unknown.

There were seven international events on the UFC's calendar in 2010 and six in 2011. The promotion is on track to top those numbers this year with six events already in the books or scheduled. In addition to live events, international editions of the UFC's flagship reality show "The Ultimate Fighter" are now underway with filming underway in Brazil and an "Australia vs. U.K." season in the works. Executives hope eventually to create a grand-prix tournament of international "TUF" contestants.

So demand is there for officials beyond U.S. borders.

"We want to keep growing the sport," Ratner said. "The reason we self-regulate is that there's no commissions in certain countries, so in order to grow the sport, we have to put them on.

"But I would just as soon have an independent body regulating these fights."

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Bellator 61 Moment - Brian Rogers KOs Vitor Vianna

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Super Fight League video stream from Mumbai, India

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Dana White: We'll probably end up with Hector Lombard

It appears a fight may be brewing over Middleweight Hector Lombard, who has not lost a fight in nearly six years, and is currently under contract with Bellator.

UFC President Dana White .

"I guess he's pretty popular down here. I've been hearing all about him since I've been here. I hear he's under contract though with someone else, so we''ll see. I'll probably end up with him. If he wants to fight in the UFC, then we'll probably end up with him."

Bellator Chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney

"Hector remains our champion right now. We are in the midst of a pretty substantial negotiation relative to his future with the organization. I've said many times I think he's the best middleweight in mixed martial arts so it's not an easy negotiation by any stretch of the imagination.

"We've got the right to match on any deal. We're either gonna sign him before he goes out the to marketplace or he's going to go out to the marketplace and we're gonna have a determination as to whether we're gonna match or not match and we're gonna see where it ends up. I

"love the guy and he's an awesome talent. He's been nothing but a pure pleasure for me to work with. He's been a great guy for me to work with and he's done everything we've asked him to do and every time I've put him in a cage, he's knocked people silly. You can't really ask for more than that from a guy."

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UFC Title Contender Nate Diaz Thinks Nick Diaz Will Remain Retired

Triathalon season is starting so he's getting ready, getting in shape for that and concentrating on being in shape, being healthy and helping me out and coaching me for this fight [against Jim Miller].

Right now, I don't think [we will see him back inside the Octagon]. He's big on, like I said, staying in shape and just being healthy right now.

He's not worried about it. I think he's retired. He hasn't been into this whole fighting thing for some time ... since everything that goes on with the funny wins and losses.

And not just for him, but for people on our team. So, I just think he's relaxed right now, you know? I think he's pretty set on his retirement, though. I kind of agree with him [about his decision].

It's hard to say -- he's my brother. I'm not going to tell him to go fight somebody. I think he's doing the right thing. He made enough money to just chill back, sit back and relax.

People don't understand: Nick never had nothing. He came from not much, so when he complained a lot about not making a lot of money it's because there were so many people making more money than him and he works 10 times hard than them. So, they definitely paid him enough money to not have to anything. He doesn't need to fight.

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Bulked up Fedor Emelianenko about UFC, Josh Bernett and next fight

- Your promoter Vadim Finkelstein, has recently said that his next fight you will spend the summer or fall. Can you say anything more specific about this?

- The time when the battle will take place, I can name right now - it's June or July. But at the place where the fight will take place, we have not decided yet.

- Where would you most like to fight: Russia, Japan, where you will enjoy almost as much as at home, or maybe in the U.S.?

- Of course, I would like to come home for his countrymen. But by far the most powerful and influential organization of MMA is located in America. This UFC. Therefore, to meet with the best fighters I have to travel to the United States.

- One of the most intriguing fights in your career could be a fight with Josh Barnett. But in 2009 he never took place. Would you still meet with the American? And what are the chances that soon you will rival a similar level?

- Vadim is currently in talks about it. Much depends on it. I think in the near future, the situation becomes clearer. As for Burnett, it was the third time, when we broke off the fight with him. But to be honest with him I would not want to fight. I really sympathize with Josh, and we had been friends for a long time. Perhaps he is the only fighter with whom I had not wanted to meet in the ring.

- In Las Vegas, May 26 will fight for the title of champion of the UFC heavyweight division between the Brazilian Junior dos Santos and the Dutchman Alistair Overeem. Do you think they are the strongest at the moment the men in the world?

- Yes, I think they are one of the strongest heavyweights at the moment.

- Recently in the U.S. press reported that you can meet with former UFC champion in the heavyweight Cain Velasquez. What can you say about this?

- We do not have agreements. To date, no certainty in the relationship with the UFC does not. Maybe in the near future, something clear.

- Velasquez calls you his idol, and says that he considers you the best heavyweight of all time. You can select the fighters, even completing a career that made the greatest contribution to the development of mixed martial arts?

- I am interested to watch the performances of the top five rankings UFC. Contribution to the development of MMA? If we go by personalities, it's all the same Barnett, Mirko Filipovich, brothers Nogueira, Randy Couture.

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Nogueira injured, replaced by Thiago Silva

The UFC has just informed us that Rogerio “Lil’ Nog” Nogueira has scratched from his heavyweight fight with Swedish phenom Alexander Gustafsson due to injury.

Believe it or not, Thiago Silva is replacing Nogueira in the light heavyweight main event! This comes as a bit of a surprise, as this will be Silva's first fight back from a lengthy suspension due to a failed drug test and an admitted use of a banned substance. Moreover, the winner of the bout may surge ahead in the line for title contention.

Silva was schedule for a rematch with Brandon Vera at UFC on Fuel 3 in Fairfax, VA. It was after their previous bout, in which Silva dominated Vera and smashed Vera's nose, that Silva failed his drug test.

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This is the worse injury I have ever seen live

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Rampage: My next fight will be my last fight

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