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Dana White 'Really Confident' UFC Will Take Event to Japan in 2011

Dana WhiteLAS VEGAS -- The UFC has not hosted a show in Japan in over a decade. The promotion hoped they would be heading back after acquiring PRIDE in 2007, but a series of roadblocks has kept them out.

Suddenly, however, it seems like the doors to the destination are opening, and UFC president Dana White said he believes the UFC will be hosting a show in Japan in 2011.

"Everything that needs to happen to go to Japan is falling into place so far," White said. "So it's looking good. It's on our calendar this year."

White could not share a more specific date, saying he wasn't ready to announce anything more concrete.

The UFC has made moves to penetrate the market in the recent past, most notably hiring former NBA executive Mark Fischer, who has vast experience working in Japanese business, to run their Asian operations.

"We think we're right there. We think we're going to get it done," White said.

In its history, the UFC has run four events in Japan, but none under the current Zuffa ownership. The last time a UFC show emanated from the country was UFC 29 in Dec. 2000. The event featured a successful Tito Ortiz championship defense against Yuki Kondo.

Ironically, Zuffa bought the company the next month, and the promotion has never returned.

"I'm really confident we're going to go this year," White said. "Very confident."

In the past, White has said that he wasn't sure he would personally attend an event due to threats made against him, recounting a story of being chased to the airport after Chuck Liddell knocked out Alistair Overeem at a PRIDE event in 2003.

"We'll see if I come out of there alive, but we're going to do it," he said.

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