UFC coming to Italy, Spain and France according to Lorenzo Fertitta

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.”

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