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Update: UFC will be the No. 2 property for Sony Six after IPL
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Founded in 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has gone on to become the largest Mixed Martial Arts brand in the world. Having established itself in markets like US, Canada, and Brazil, the UFC has made its first big push in India through a broadcast deal with Sony Six.

Apart from having a television presence in the country, UFC also plans to build the sport with on-ground activities and talent hunt initiatives. Its ultimate aim: to make UFC the second biggest property for Sony Six after the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

Q. Which are the top three markets for UFC?
A. The US is number one. Canada is number two and Brazil is number three. We see a lot of similarities between Brazil and India. Both are emerging economies. There is a growing educated class of younger people who are looking for a new and exciting sport. We think that is what the UFC represents.

Q. How did the deal with Six come about and what are the terms of the deal?
A. This is a four-year deal. Hopefully we will be able to extend it and make it a long term relationship. Our goal is make UFC the number two property for Six after the IPL.

We came to India two years ago. We started looking here and have worked for a long time. We have had interest expressed from every major media company here. We have had discussions with companies like Zee, NDTV and Star.

We liked the approach that Sony was going to take. We also liked being affiliated with the IPL. And we wanted to be on a sports channel.

Q. Has UFC considered launching its own TV channel?
A. Not yet! We felt that we needed to make an investment and grow the brand before making this move.

Q. Where do you see the UFC in India five years down the line?
A. I think that we could be the number two sport after cricket. In Brazil we are not just the number two sport but are also getting close to the popularity of soccer. Many times we get more viewership than the Brazilian national soccer team does.

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