UFC Returning to Japan, February 26th 2012
By FCF Staff
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that it will be returning to Japan for the first time in over a decade, as today the promotion confirmed that it has booked the Saitama Super Arena for February 26th, 2012. (Pictured: Matt Hughes attempting to slam Dennis Hallman at UFC 29, December 16th in Tokyo, Japan)
No details regarding the card were included. The UFC currently has several notable Japanese fighers under contract, including Yoshihiro Akiyama, Yushin Okami, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki and Takanori Gomi, among others.
The UFC’s last card in Japan took place in December, 2000, and saw Tito Ortiz submit Yuki Kondo in the headliner. The promotion has not held an event in the island nation since the UFC was acquired by Zuffa LLC.
The Saitama Super Arena will reportedly be configured to seat approximately 20,000 fans.
When Zuffa LLC purchased the Japanese based promotion Pride FC in 2007, the UFC’s main competitor, the company announced plans to keep the organization running. Zuffa eventually disbanded Pride, however, and later President Dana White was quoted saying that “corruption” and “the mafia” were key reasons as to why the promotion was folded.
Other Japanese MMA promotions have struggled in recent years, as DREAM is reportedly in rough financial shape and World Victory Road has not announced any future plans for its Sengoku events.
Some of the former Pride competitors and champions currently signed with the UFC include Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Wanderlei Silva, “Rampage” Jackson and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and could also be possibilities for the February 26th card.