MMA is without a doubt the fastest growing sport in the world and the UFC is the leading pioneer. The Zuffa based company has expanded it's market to places like China, Singapore and the most recently announced Mexico, but are still looking for the right opportunity to add Russia to that global revolution.
Russia has always been a huge country significant to MMA. This was mainly due to the highly decorated success of former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko, who went ten years unbeaten to become one of most feared men on the planet in his prime.
The UFC itself has stars decorated from Russia such as Lightweight's Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rustam Khabilov. They are representing the country massively, taking over the crown of Fedor and carrying the flag for Russia.
In 2013, UFC President Dana White was keen to take a UFC event to the country. It was his aim to put a show on their in 2013. Now, almost halfway through 2014, we are yet to see a fight in the Octagon in Russia.
On hosting an event in Russia, White has recently said:
"We're not as far along on Russia as I thought we would be. Obviously it's a huge market for us and we'll see - we'll figure it out."
"There's only two of us at the end of the day. Me and (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) are out there bouncing around trying to do all this stuff."
"There's only so much you can do in a work week, and at the same time we're putting on all these shows."
It has been a stressful time for the UFC recently. As you would expect, they try and expand where their champions fight from. Unfortunatley so far for the UFC, Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez who is half Mexican, and New York native Jon Jones, the light heavyweight king, have been unable to fight on home turf.
As for New York, it is one of the few states in America that doesn't sanction MMA. For a state with such a strong boxing history, it is strange why the state has to made it legal. With Jon Jones arguably the sport's pound-for-pound king, they have done huge amounts to get the sport legalised. It's expected that the sport will be sanctioned in the coming weeks.
Along with this, the UFC has also been spending time planning events in Abu Dhabi, Dublin and other areas of the world. Although it is not likely for this year, an event in Russia next year is surely on the radar for late 2015.
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