The UFC today announced its schedule of events for 2015. While UFC said its Asia presence may be scaled back from 5 events to 2 or 3, it’s likely that new markets will see UFC expansion, namely South Korea and the Philippines.
With UFC’s Asia events taking place in a different time zone, a UFC Fight Night event on Fight Pass looks to be the broadcast format and schedule Asian fans can expect. Given the new schedule, the highest amount of Fight Nights occur in April, July through August, and November.
Previously it was stated that Japan would be revisited at roughly the same time as 2014’s event, in September. According to the new schedule, it looks like UFC could return to Japan on September 19th or 26th. The current TUF, The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4, tryouts will be held on October 27th, and the show will begin to air in April of 2015. If the UFC follows a similar schedule, expect tryouts as late as April of 2015 for a September card finale.
However, while we don’t like to promulgate rumors, there have been discussions about a tryout being held at the end of this year, and coupled with Carr’s statement of rearranging the Asia schedule, it’s possible a Japan card could be held during July, when five Fight Night events are slated. It’s hopeful that UFC’s planned “The Ultimate Fighter” series will be announced soon, and that the Japan event can be expected to host the TUF Japan Finale. Check out the new updates on TUF Japan here.
CEO Dana White confirmed that South Korea would be visited in 2015. There has been insider speculation that it could be in the first half of the year, making April a likely candidate.
UFC Philippines is probably the longest-awaited event for a UFC in Asia. Talks about TUF Philippines go all the way back to 2011! Last year, UFC stated it did plan an event, but a lack of sponsors halted the attempt. UFC would need to make their event at the high-tech Mall Of Asia in Manila. Currently, ONE FC has the arena locked down twice a year, in May and December, for a long term contract. So, any UFC event there would need to be held outside whatever window of competition ONE FC has negotiated. August seems most feasible.
As for a revisit to Macau, which held the first UFC in Asia, the time could be negotiated more freely than other locales, as The Venetian is the venue sponsor.
UFC has already stated it will not be holding a Singapore event in 2015.
Expect to hear a lot of news from the UFC on Asian events as December draws closer. Asia MMA will have updates as soon as they become available.