The art of expansion cuts like a double-edged sword. On one hand, expanding into other territories benefits a company because of the exposure and the wide audience that comes with it. On the other hand, a company might encounter trouble during its expansion if it is unable to market its product towards the consumers in a targeted area.

At this point, nobody can or will deny the UFC’s international efforts. The promotion has delivered shows in Canada, Japan, China, Brazil, England, Ireland, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Germany, Australia, Sweden and various other parts of the world. With operations in the United Kingdom, Brazil and Singapore, as well as intentions to break into the Latin-American market, the promotion’s global expansion seems poised for a setup almost along the lines of Ray Sefo’s rising World Series Of Fighting organiztion or the grassroots MMA promotion Xtreme Fighting Championships.

Both of those promotions have a U.S.-based set of shows, but they also feature shows set in another country that tend to involve a separate roster. WSOF’s Canadian arm crowned Ryan Ford as its welterweight champion recently, and if that serves as any indicator, fans can expect the promotion’s Central American and Japanese branches to crown new champions in the future. The same can be said for XFC International, which debuted in Brazil and looks to put on another great MMA showcase for Brazilian MMA fans, but one that stands as its own entity, apart from the U.S. branch of the organization.

The UFC might entertain the thought of pulling off similar setup, where it does its European, Brazilian, Asian and Australian cards with a separate roster of fighters from the ones employed in the United States.

Let’s use the recent The Ultimate Fighter China Finale event as an illustration.

What the TUF China Finale made clear is that the talent in these regions, while impressive in their own regard, simply does not fall on par with the American-based UFC. All of the Chinese prospects on the finale, even highly touted Jumabieke Tuerxun, failed to display the necessary ingredients to sustain long-term success inside the Octagon against the UFC’s typical caliber of opposition.

The same question can be asked of the local fighters in other countries, such as Germany, Turkey and Poland, which are targeted in the UFC’s global expansion plans. Will any of them realistically ever compete at the level of a UFC champion, or even that of a low-level UFC gatekeeper? The UFC is expanding into regions where the talent doesn’t always possess a collegiate wrestling background or have the luxury of training at top gyms like Jackson’s MMA or American Top Team.

With that in mind, the UFC can keep a roster of talent exclusively for certain international cards, all of which will air on Fight Pass unless otherwise announced by the promotion. If the promotion likes what it sees from one or more of those talents, then it can graduate them to televised cards. The isolation of the rosters, however, will allow fighters to slowly progress up the ranks and evolve into world-class fighters. It will also allow them to form relationships that may provide them with the opportunity to spend time at the world’s elite camps. Fighters like Tuerxun or TUF China welterweight winner Lipeng Zhang would then have a true chance at shining and becoming even more than just local or regional stars.

The alternative is that fighters like Tuerxun will be thrown to the wolves. They will go from being the alpha male of their own region to a walkover for fighters with far superior training and combat sports backgrounds from areas of the world that have a longer history of mixed martial arts competition. Is that really what the UFC wants?

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.