UFC

UFC plans European expansion

Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and President
The UFC is making plans for further expansion into Europe in 2014.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.

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The UFC's global expansion will go beyond a multitude of shows planned for Brazil in 2014 because Europe will also see the promotion land there for several cards next year as well.

UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta told the promotion's television partner in the United Kingdom, BT Sport, that they will be featuring several UFC Fight Night cards across Europe next year starting with a show in London in March 2014.

UFC president Dana White teased about a possible event in London next year when discussing Alexander Gustafsson's next trip to the Octagon, and this new date now makes sense when planning the next wave of UFC shows across the globe.

Europe has long been a market the UFC wanted to conquer, but television deals and local governing athletic commissions have generally been the problem with consistent timing for shows over the past few years.

The UFC has put on several cards in England, Ireland, and Germany, but this new expansion could lead them into many different markets. The promotion has already teased an event in Ireland in 2014, and they've long desired to land in France as well.

The new ambitious expansion will be a series of UFC Fight Night cards that Fertitta says he hopes breeds a new roster of talent coming from Europe the same way Brazil has proved to be a hotbed of new MMA fighters joining the organization.

"We are going to find some incredibly talented fighters from various countries in this market that someday will probably be a UFC champion," Fertitta said.

More concrete plans for the expansion will likely be announced in the coming weeks as venues and dates are locked down for the UFC's schedule next year.
 

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