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UFC hires former Manchester City CEO to spearhead overseas growth

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Garry Cook, whose tenure with the Manchester City Football Club was both successful and controversial, was hired today by the UFC to help run operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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The UFC announced Friday the appointment of former Manchester City football club chief executive Garry Cook as the company's new executive vice president and managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Cook was both successful and controversial during his tenure with Manchester City, which lasted from 2008 to 2011. He was in charge while the team won both the FA Cup and Barclays Premier League championship, and also was in charge of global media and market development strategy.

"Garry is a man with a fantastic record for high profile achievements in the sports industry with tremendous international experience," said UFC President Dana White, when the announcement was made of the hire. "We are confident he will continue the huge developments the UFC has made internationally and lead us to further success."

However, he resigned from his post one year ago amidst controversy. The resignation came after an internal investigation regarding claims he mistakenly sent an offensive e-mail to Dr. Anthonia Onuoha, the mother and agent of Nedum Onuoha, who was battling cancer. It was one of a series of public relations gaffes during his tenure, which he later apologized for publicly, including praising Thaksin Shinawatra, the unpopular former owner of the team who had been found guilty of corruption, as a "nice guy."

Cook also worked from 1996 to 2005 for Nike, where he held several management positions, including president and general manager international of Brand Jordan and leading commercial strategy for Nike apparel EMEA.

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining the UFC," Cook said in a statement. "Mixed martial arts is one of the most popular sports globally and to be working in such a dynamic and exciting industry, with UFC's talented, passionate and committed staff and athletes, is an honor. I look forward to being a part of the team as they continue to grow internationally."