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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