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UFC eyes live event in Phillippines for Summer '09

As part of its international expansion, the UFC is interested in bringing a live event to the Philippines in Summer 2009, reports

"We're probably more mainstream in the Philippines than we are in the US," UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said in the article.

During the final leg of the UFC's overseas promotional tour last week, over 4,000 fans showed up to watch an open workout with Chuck Liddell at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. The UFC attributes its popularity in the Philippines to its coverage on the ABS-CBN network, which pulls in high ratings with its UFC programming.

The live event in Manila would feature UFC stars as well as fighters out of Southeast Asia.

"It will be a combination of bringing over some of our stars and then hopefully having some local Filipino fighters, and maybe bringing in some of the guys from Japan and South Korea," Fertitta said.

The UFC, which began in November 2003, has held events in Asia only four times with all four visits taking place in Japan (UFC Japan 1 and UFC 23, 25, 29). The UFC bought PRIDE in March 2007, but its difficultly securing a television deal has hindered either brand's presence in Japan.

Early 2007 the Las Vegas-based promotion began its most recent international effort by opening an office in the UK to facilitate its re-entry into Europe. The UFC has since held events in Northern Ireland (UFC 72) and the UK (UFC 70, 75, 85).