Halfway around the world, (some) fighters are just excited as you about Mayweather vs. McGregor

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Filed under: 2017 MMA Road Show, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

SINGAPORE – For the fighters at this weekend’s event in Singapore, today was supposed to be all about promoting UFC Fight Night 111. But as the sun started to rise in Asia, everything changed.

It was about 6 a.m. in Singapore when news started to reach both the UFC fighters and employees involved in this weekend’s event: The long-rumored boxing fantasy fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is now reality.

MMAjunkie was on scene to cover Ultimate Media Day for UFC Fight Night 111, but the talk in every interview instantly shifted to Mayweather (49-0 boxing) vs. McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC).

Some fighters had a vested interest. After all, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (25-9 MMA, 14-7 UFC), who fights welterweight Tarec Saffiedine (16-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass-streamed event, was set to face McGregor in 2016 before an injury forced him to withdraw, which allowed Nate Diaz to step in and create one of MMA’s greatest rivalries.

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who headlines UFC Fight Night 111 opposite Bethe Correia (10-2-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC), is also a former boxing world champion. And former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski (25-14 MMA, 14-8 UFC), who co-headlines against Marcin Tybura (15-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), also briefly considered a boxing career. All of them weighed in on the money fight, as did several other fighters MMA notables.

Check out their responses in the video above.

And for more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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The MMA Road Show at UFC-Singapore: Did someone say duck?

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(The UFC hosts four events on four continents in four weeks. MMAjunkie is in Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland and Singapore from May 23 to June 18 for the 2017 MMA Road Show.)

SINGAPORE – The official media schedule for UFC Fight Night 111 actually kicks off on Thursday, but fighters were busy going through their pre-fight routines today as the MMAjunkie team visited the host hotel.

The iconic Marina Bay Sands is serving as home base for UFC operations this week, with Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass-streamed card taking place at the nearby Singapore Indoor Stadium. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) meets onetime title challenger Bethe Correia (10-2-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) in the evening’s main event.

MMAjunkie’s own John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) and Ken Hathaway (@kenshathaway) are on scene for the event, and they had a chance to speak with a few of the card’s featured participants ahead of official media activities.

Take in the latest sights from Singapore as fighters continued the final prep for this weekend’s event – including photo shoots, video interviews, uniform fittings and more – in the bustling metropolis that sees the UFC octagon visit for just the second time.

MMAjunkie ended up having some smoked duck for lunch, but Colby Covington suggested a different kind of duck had already been served to him by Rafael dos Anjos.

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For the crew’s previous days in Singapore, also see:

For more on UFC Fight Night 111, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Most watched MMA promotion in Asia? UFC argues its case over ONE Championship

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(The UFC hosts four events on four continents in four weeks. MMAjunkie is in Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland and Singapore from May 23 to June 18 for the 2017 MMA Road Show.)

SINGAPORE – While the UFC’s marketshare in Asia has been questioned, the company recently released findings from a third-party study that concluded the world’s leading MMA promotion is also “the leading provider of MMA TV content across Asia.”

Commissioned by the UFC, research firm Futures Sport + Entertainment looked at several of the biggest commerical markets in Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, as well as the host of this week’s UFC Fight Night 111 event, Singapore.

“The appeal of UFC’s content is such that the number of hours watched far exceeds that of regional MMA promotions,” Futures Sport + Entertainment Head of U.K. Steven Adamson stated. “Fans in Asia tune in en masse to watch marquee UFC events held in Las Vegas and other global destinations. This tells us that consumers in Asia are eager and more than willing to spend time consuming UFC’s international event content than any other MMA promotion.”

Conventional wisdom previously stated ONE Championship was the dominant brand in Asia, with the company claiming to host “the largest sports entertainment events across Asia, featuring the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions, all signed to exclusive contracts, on the largest media broadcast in Asia.”

UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content Joe Carr said the numbers in this report suggest otherwise. However, he said there’s room for both promotions to thrive in the market.

“The reality is that (ONE Championship) is a regional promotion focused on Southeast Asia, like a Cage Warriors in Europe or an LFA in the U.S.,” Carr told MMAjunkie. “By any meaningful metric like viewership or revenue, UFC is significantly larger than (ONE Championship) in this region, and that gap will presumably widen as we refocus our efforts in Asia. The good news is that the sport of MMA is growing rapidly in this part of the world, and there is more than enough room for us to coexist and be successful, as is the case with UFC and local leagues in most other markets.”

Using an “hours viewed” metric, which is defined as “one person watching a program for one hour,” the Futures Sport + Entertainment report concluded that in Asia, “total hours viewed of UFC content was 26 times more than total hours viewed of the next largest MMA promotion, and in every market analyzed, UFC generated more than double the hours viewed.”

Carr said there was a reason the UFC asked for such a metric, rather than a more typical “ratings” figure generally seen in comparative reports.

“Hours viewed was a more useful metric as we were trying to compare not only demand but also the scale of both promotions across the region,” Carr said. “Hours viewed is ratings times hours aired – it was equally important for us to track the frequency of our programming in addition to standard ratings. The reason the gap is so large is because not only are our ratings performing but our content is also being aired more consistently.”

Other intriguing statistics from the report include data on China, where the findings claim “in 2016, broadcasted UFC content totaled 234 million hours viewed compared to just 3,000 viewing hours of the next largest MMA promotion,” as well as South Korea, where “the research shows that UFC is the dominant MMA promotion in Korea with the next largest MMA promotion attracting less than 0.2 percent of the viewership in 2016.”

ONE Championship officials point to broadcasting contracts in more than 118 countries, meaning the organization’s events are “broadcast to over 1 billion viewers” and highlighting the company’s “exponential growth from 2014 to 2017.”

Carr said that while ONE Championship is certainly performing admirably, the company’s measurables may sometimes be overstated.

“We are called ‘promotions’ for a reason, and a big piece of this business is actually getting out there and marketing your brand,” Carr said. “I think they do a fantastic job from a PR and communications perspective, and it’s ultimately the responsibility of media and journalists to dig a bit deeper and not necessarily take everything at face value.”

The UFC is in ONE Championship’s backyard this week for “UFC Fight Night 111: Holm vs. Correia,” which takes place Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium and streams on UFC Fight Pass. Carr said the event is expected to net more than $1 million SGD (about $730,000 U.S.) at the gate.

The event marks the UFC’s first event in Asia since November 2015, and the first of three the organization plans to host in the market this year alone. Carr said that all stands as proof that there’s plenty of demand for the sport in Asia, and that the UFC and ONE Championship can certainly fill different roles in the space.

“It feels like the Asian MMA market is hitting a bit of a fever pitch with new promotions popping up all over the region and the amount of investment flowing into the sport,” Carr said. “To be fair, we had focused more of our attention on Europe the last few years, which has been incredibly successful for us. Now we can turn our attention to Asia and really accelerate the organic growth that has taken place since 2014.

“Asia is more highly fragmented than Western Europe in terms of language and business culture, but we have committed to three events in this region in 2017 and will have similar output going forward. After our success here this week, we are thinking about making Singapore an annual stop. We are very focused on talent development in this region and our first Asian champion is inevitably on the horizon.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 111, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: 2017 MMA Road Show, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

The MMA Road Show at UFC-Singapore: Fighters descend upon city-state, amazing pool

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(The UFC hosts four events on four continents in four weeks. MMAjunkie is in Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland and Singapore from May 23 to June 18 for the 2017 MMA Road Show.)

SINGAPORE – The UFC is in Singapore for the just the second time, and the first since its January 2014 debut in the sovereign city-state.

Located nearly 9,000 miles to the west of Los Angeles in Southeast Asia, it’s quite the journey to get to Singapore from the U.S., even if you’re lucky enough to score a direct flight. While some fighters checked in early, Tuesday marked the official arrival day in Singapore for this week’s “UFC Fight Night 111: Holm vs. Correia” event, which takes place Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium and streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

MMAjunkie’s own John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) and Ken Hathaway (@kenshathaway) actually flew into Singapore from this past week’s UFC Fight Night 110 event in Auckland, New Zealand, and are already on scene, as well, prepping for a full week of coverage from UFC Fight Night 111.

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) meets onetime title challenger Bethe Correia (10-2-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) in the evening’s main event. On the first official day of fight week for UFC-Singapore, take a look at some of the sights, including the incomparable view from this week’s host hotel, the Marina Bay Sands (which proved slightly too expensive for the MMAjunkie crew, who are staying down the street at the Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong).

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For more on UFC Fight Night 111, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 115 – Auckland: Joe Carr, Rob Tasker

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Episode No. 115 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

John Morgan and Cold Coffee are finally back together, as MMAjunkie’s 2017 MMA Road Show continues on to New Zealand. That’s not confusing, right? With the team back together, there’s a quick review of UFC 212 before checking in with UFC exec Joe Carr to hear about the status of the Australia and New Zealand markets. Afterward, FOX Sports Australia’s Rob Tasker joins to preview UFC Fight Night 110.

Check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 110 fighters dish on Auckland experience, including visit to 'Lord of the Rings' set

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(The UFC hosts four events on four continents in four weeks. MMAjunkie is in Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland and Singapore from May 23 to June 18 for the 2017 MMA Road Show.)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – This city of 1.4 million that sits on the coast of the North Island of New Zealand is beautiful and has a lot to offer.

Even though the fighters of UFC Fight Night 110 are busy with preparations for Saturday’s (Sunday locally) event at Spark Arena, some have managed to soak in the city and its surrounding area, while others certainly plan to after fight night ends.

That includes headliner and noted “Lord of the Rings” fan Derrick Lewis, who shared with MMAjunkie his experience of touring the movie set nearby.

Check out the video above for fighter’s impressions of the host city, which the UFC is visiting for just the second time.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumorssection of the site.

Filed under: 2017 MMA Road Show, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC exec: Australia, New Zealand markets booming, PPV events could be coming in 2018

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(The UFC hosts four events on four continents in four weeks. MMAjunkie is in Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Auckland and Singapore from May 23 to June 18 for the 2017 MMA Road Show.)

LAS VEGAS – The UFC returns to New Zealand this week for just the second time in promotional history, and while the company isn’t planning on annual events in the island nation, a senior exec said the region can expect some big fight cards.

“We’ve seen, especially after the last event we had in Auckland, a spike in not only residential buys, but just commercial interest in the bar business and everything like that grow, similar to what we saw after (UFC) 193 in Australia,” UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content Joe Carr told MMAjunkie. “The course and direction of our business in Australia has completely changed since bringing that event there. It’s actually pretty incredible.”

The UFC first visited Auckland in June 2014 for “UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt.” The company has since visited Australia five times, including the blockbuster UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne in November 2015.

Foreign pay-per-view events are notoriously difficult for the UFC, since the company needs them to air in primetime in the U.S., the organization’s most financially lucrative market. But when the company visits Australia and New Zealand, it hosts events on Sunday morning, which air live in the U.S. on Saturday night thanks to the massive time difference.

Such is the case with UFC Fight Night 110, which sees Derrick Lewis (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) face Mark Hunt (12-11-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC) in the Sunday headliner at Spark Arena. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

“It’s very difficult to bring pay-per-views or our highest caliber cards (to foreign markets) because you’re doing it in the middle of the night there,” Carr said. “We did Manchester with Michael Bisping last year, but that’s an irregularity, right? That’s not the rule. Whereas in Australia, it’s easy for us to bring pay-per-views because you can do them Sunday there, and it’s still Saturday night primetime (in the U.S.). There’s no conflict.

“It doesn’t matter where the feed is coming from, as long as it’s Saturday night in our timeslot. Even when we thinking about Perth next year, beginning of the year, should that be a pay-per-view? That’s on the table.”

Perth has long been Australia’s answer to New York – the capital city of Western Australia, the nation’s only state that didn’t allow regulated MMA. Recent government changes signaled a reverse in that policy.

“Now we finally have Western Australia over the line, so the hope is that we’re going to be in Perth in the near future,” Carr said.

For now, though, the focus is on New Zealand, a nation with a little less than 5 million citizens. Still, the company’s debut event drew more than 8,000 fans and a gate nearing $1 million, and Carr said the live event helped the company grow in the market. Add in the opportunity to have Hunt fight in front of his birth nation, and Carr said it was the “perfect storm.”

“You make these investments and bring in these events there, and it kind of just completely changes the nature of your business in these markets all the way down from the talent to your revenue prospects, so that’s kind of where we are in New Zealand,” Carr said. “Australia/New Zealand is just on fire for us since UFC 193.”

To learn more about the UFC’s current plan in different markets around the world, also check out:

And for more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Video: Derrick Lewis, Mark Hunt come face-to-face with Maori warriors in New Zealand

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – UFC Fight Night 110 headliners Derrick Lewis and Mark Hunt came face-to-face with members of the Ngati Whatua tribe today in New Zealand, kicking off fight week with a traditional warrior welcome.

Lewis (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) and Hunt (12-11-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC) were the guests of honor at Wednesday’s event, which took place at the scenic Orakei Marae in Auckland.

Known as a Pōwhiri, the ceremony began with the warriors cautiously approaching the fighters while brandishing ceremonial weapons. After the initial show of force, a peace offering was made by one of the warriors and accepted by Lewis’ coach, Kru Bob Perez.

Check out the video above to see highlights from the activity, which officially launched the start of fight week in Auckland, which the UFC is visiting for just the second time in company history.

Lewis and Hunt, a native New Zealander, meet in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 110, which takes place Sunday (but airs live in the U.S. on Saturday due to time difference) at Spark Arena in Auckland. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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