Dana White hints that UFC may set up regional fight circuits

“The bottom line is as we start kicking off all these ‘Ultimate Fighters’ in other countries, it’s going to open up the floodgates for a lot more fighters, and guys are going to need a lot more experience,” White told MMAjunkie.com after Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 2 event in Stockholm. “So, we’re working on it.”

The UFC recently kicked off the first international edition of its reality series with “TUF: Brazil.” While the show is relegated to a Sunday-night online home in the U.S., it broadcasts nationally in Brazil on Globo and reaches approximately 10 million weekly TV viewers.

India is next up, and White said a U.K. vs. Australia version of the show also is in the works.

But once the show is over and the fighters have been introduced to the masses, they need a place to fight. With the UFC already having an abundance of signed fighters, it creates a problem for White and UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta.

“Lorenzo and I were literally talking about this before the show started tonight, and we’re coming up with some ideas on how to – believe it or not – do more events so that we can feed these markets that are dying for it,” White said. “The U.K. keeps terrorizing us. Ireland is part of it, but (we’re) going back to Ireland, too. And Scotland. A guy here tonight was asking about Norway. Germany we haven’t been back to. Every time we got to Australia, it’s insane.

“There are a lot of markets that are starved. India – we’re going to go to India. The list goes on and on and on. China we were talking about tonight, too. But we’re working on figuring out how to feed all these markets so they don’t have to wait so long.”

One solution is country-specific fight circuits – an idea White has suggested in the past. Instead of moving all international fighters to the UFC’s primary shows, smaller events could take place in the international markets. In fact, they could take place on nights the UFC hosts shows in North American – creating dual-event nights.

Admittedly, there are hurdles.

“We’ve talked about doing two shows at the same time,” White said. “We’ve talked about doing a lot of stuff. But one of the things you guys have got to understand, the hardest part is the infrastructure. It’s creating all this new talent, and it’s not just fighters. It’s commentators. It’s (cage announce Bruce) Buffer’s position. Cameramen. (It’s) all the things that go along with putting on the event that we put on. It’s a lot of work.”

But that, essentially, could lead to regional UFC champs. In addition to UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, for example, the UFC could have a European champion, an Asian champion – even a South American champion.

All sorts of logistics would need to be figured out, but White said the idea is a constant source of discussion.

“We talked about [regional champions],” he said. “We talked about rankings – just like boxing, guys ranked in other countries. So you end up being ranked. I don’t know. You have UFC champions, and then you have guys that are ranked in different countries. It absolutely makes sense. In the big picture, long-term, it absolutely makes perfect sense.”

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Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.

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