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Dana White Says 'The Ultimate Fighter: Philippines' Could Happen in 2011

Dana WhiteOne of Dana White's favorite mantras is that the UFC is taking the sport of mixed martial arts global and that he believes it will be the biggest sport in the world.

On Tuesday, the UFC president said on a media call that he expects the promotion's flagship program, Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter," to soon have its first international version – perhaps even this year.

And White said the Philippines, in southeast Asia, could be the first country outside the United States to host a version of the reality competition.

"This year," White said, "I'm pretty sure the first one's going to be the Philippines."

White has alluded in the past to spreading TUF out to include versions in Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico, among others. The show first aired in 2005 and is widely credited, in part thanks to the legendary first light heavyweight finale between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, with putting the UFC into the mainstream consciousness.

But along with the UFC's continued quest to break into new markets around the world will apparently come ways to look for new talent around the world, as well, through TUF.

In 2007, the UFC began to work toward a more global outreach with UFC 70 in Manchester, England. UFC 72 was in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2008, the UFC entered Canada for the first time with UFC 83 in Montreal – and just Saturday, UFC 129 in Toronto sold out 55,000 seats, smashing the previous North American MMA attendance and gate records.

The UFC has also been to Germany; Australia, where it returns for UFC 127 on Feb. 26; the United Arab Emirates; and has a show planned for Scotland in May and a return trip to Brazil on the ledger for August, where it has not been since 1998.

"We're taking it to the next level and everything is growing," White said. "Everything's getting bigger. There might be a day, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, but there's going to be a day when we'll be putting on a show in Las Vegas and there will be a (UFC) fight happening in Australia at the same time. That's really where we're headed."

And White said that aggressive approach to continuing to put the UFC on the map globally is what will lead to international editions of TUF.

"As the sport becomes more popular, there's a lot more talent coming up," White said. "It's part of what we're working on, too. 'The Ultimate Fighter' is going to start airing in every country. We're going to start doing 'The Ultimate Fighter U.K.,' 'The Ultimate Fighter Canada,' 'The Ultimate Fighter Philippines.' We're doing it everywhere. We're doing nothing but cultivating new talent."

Season 13 of "The Ultimate Fighter" is currently taping in Las Vegas, featuring coaches Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos. Each of the previous 12 seasons of the show has taped in Las Vegas. The show begins airing next month on Spike.

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