UFC 144 Storylines: UFC Returns to Japan

February 25, 2012

MMAPayout will be taking a look at the storylines heading into UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson, which will be held at The Saitama Super Arena in Japan on Saturday February 25, 2012.

UFC Sells Out Long Awaited Return to Japan

UFC officials today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that ticket sales are still moving briskly for this weekend’s event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and the fight card is expected to sell-out all of the nearly 20,000 available seats.

Furthermore, UFC officials are so encouraged by the buzz surrounding UFC 143 that plans for a return to Japan are already under consideration, and multiple annual visits – as well as a version of “The Ultimate Fighter” – are also possible.  (MMAJunkie)

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Misses Weight

Quentin “Rampage” Jackson missed weight by 6 pounds last night at UFC 144 weigh-ins. Jackson claims that this was due to an unspecified injury and as a result he will forfeit 20% of his show money to his opponent, Ryan Bader. (MMAPayout)

UFC Japan Sponsors Plus “Pay-to-Play” TV Deal with TV Tokyo, – Event Set To Air at 3AM in Japan

“This is why Dentsu backing UFC is so critical. A multi-year deal to promote shows in the country means nothing unless Dentsu, which has plenty of juice, can convince sponsors to back them to get the events on TV. If an outlet like TV Tokyo, which historically has plenty of pay-to-play examples for buying programming time, is taking a pass on the UFC… that spells trouble. WOWOW doesn’t cut it. You need a major broadcast TV network backing you or else you are going nowhere on a big scale in Japan.”

– TV Tokyo will air 90-minute highlight version of UFC Japan show from 3:15 AM to 4:45 AM JST after the show is done.

– Don Quijote & UFC Undisputed 3 are the TV sponsors.

– This was a last-minute deal by Dentsu. (FightOpinion)

MMAFighting Hit’s the Streets of Japan and Tests UFC Brand Strength and State of MMA

UFC 144 will mark the promotion’s first event in Japan in over 11 years, and its return to the “Land of the Rising Sun” has forced the MMA community to once again figure out just how healthy the Japanese MMA scene is. With that in mind, we hit the streets of Tokyo to find out whether the locals were UFC fans and why they think MMA has fallen on hard times in the country. (MMAFighting)


UFC 144 Marketing and Advertising

The UFC has been doing a pretty good job of sucking in those hardcore nostalgic MMA fans who hold Japanese MMA and their tradition in high regard.  Although some may have wanted the UFC to be held in a white ring and have a ramp with Lenne Hardt announcing the fighters, Dana White was not shy to remind MMA fans and Media that this isn’t PRIDE and that the Japanese promotion who was top dog only a few years ago is dead.

Having said that, the posters released for UFC 144 have been great, adding some of that Japanese and PRIDE feel to them while maintaining the UFC’s brand.  Key to the UFC this time around is to spread brand awareness and create some roots for future expansion into not only Japan, but Korea, Philipines, and China, who they feel have even more potential at the moment as untapped markets.  At this time, it’s going to take a good amount of time and effort to elevate the MMA scene in Japan to what it once was.

UFC 144 Poster + UFC 144 Rampage Poster:


Japanese fighter Megumi Fujii Tweeted an anime version of the UFC 144 Japan poster:

3 Responses to “UFC 144 Storylines: UFC Returns to Japan”

  1. Bruce on February 25th, 2012 8:29 PM

    I have a feeling China will produce some champions in the not too distant future… Are the agents scouting already?

  2. Weezy on February 26th, 2012 3:28 PM

    Any idea when the TV Tokyo and WOWOW ratings might be available? Not sure we’ll ever hear WOWOW ratings but I’m guessing TV Tokyo ratings should be known sometime soon. With their middle of the night timeslot I’m not expecting much.

  3. Jose Mendoza on February 27th, 2012 10:49 AM


    Legend FC is a Chinese MMA promotion already developing talent. Either way, UFC will come into new markets and develop their own talent via TUF, so yes, some scouting has been done but not much. These markets are still relatively new to the sport so it will take some time.


    I don’t think there is much of a reason to wait for ratings for a 3AM airing. With or without a number, this TV deal didn’t mean much at all. If I do get it, of course, we will pass it along 🙂

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