Dana White said on Thursday that he expects Mexico to be “our new Brazil” in the sense that the UFC will be one of the biggest sports attractions in that country.
“Amazing talent is going to come out of Mexico,” White said in Orlando following the UFC on FOX 11 pre-fight news conference. “There’s going to be guys in multiple weight classes who will hold world titles in the lighter weight divisions.”
White confirmed that plans are in place to start shooting The Ultimate Fighter: Mexico once filming for TUF 20 ends this coming summer. The two shows will film back to back.
“I’ll film this115-pound women’s division,” White said. “As soon as it gets done, I literally jump right into the next one and start filming TUF for Mexico.”
White’s enthusiasm stems from the success of UFC 171, which took place in Texas last month. Johny Hendricks defeated Robbie Lawler for the vacant UFC welterweight title in the main event for the March 15 pay-per-view, and White claimed Mexico’s audience turned out to be massive.
If Hendricks or Lawler were of Mexican descent, White implied the audience would have been even greater.
“It did 4.3 million viewers in Mexico,” the UFC boss alleged. “So imagine if a Mexican was involved in that fight, how big that fight would have been.”
White added that he anticipates featuring a card in Mexico this November with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as the headliner against the winner of Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum. Velasquez is an American-born citizen, but his parents migrated to the United States from Mexico.
Other notable Mexican UFC fighters include Erik “Goyito” Perez, who currently holds a 4-1 record in the Octagon.
The UFC has made a history of featuring local fighters on international fight cards, and the additions of Velasquez and Perez to the first UFC card in Mexico are all but certain.
White’s expectation for UFC champions to come out of Mexico are just as strong as his confidence in the support he’ll get from the fan base in that region.
“The fans in Mexico will totally get behind this thing.”
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