UFC Exec. Garry Cook Says UFC Will Bring Events to Prime Time in Europe
UFC Executive Vice President Garry Cook spoke out earlier this week to discuss the future of the UFC in Europe – a venture that Cook believes will take off significantly this coming year as the organization plans to bring MMA to prime time viewing for European countries.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
This week the UFC has announced its schedule for 2014, including in that plan a venture into the European market with at least six events on the continent. According to UFC Executive Vice President Garry Cook, the expansion will look for one thing: joining prime time European programming.
“I think I underestimated the amount of content that was on after 3 o’clock in the morning,” Cook said about UFC events broadcasting overseas. “You really have to be a hardcore fan to see all the live events, the great events. Look at the last two – look at Houston over the weekend, and look at [Jon] Jones and [Alexander] Gustafsson. I mean, these are monumental moments in our sport and in the history of the UFC. And yet the mainstream [in Europe] don’t get to see them. The next part of our strategy around the globe, and around Europe in particular is to get the sport in to prime time television. Give the fans more events, and give the fans more prime time viewing, and that’s the way forward for us.”
Though the UFC has not finalized any dates or locations, Cook said the UFC is looking to hold events in London, Dublin, Istanbul, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Glasgow. He also said that the UFC may visit countries in the Middle-East and Africa.
If the UFC does go to Dublin, Ireland for an event, Cook said that it would make sense to coordinate the event with the return of Conor McGregor – the Irish phenom who is currently out with a knee injury.
“Of course,” Cook said, “[Conor has] taken the world by storm, hasn’t he? Just four months ago, five months ago, the boy was in a very different part of his life, different point in his life. Since he performed as well as he has done, we were fortunate enough to have him on one of our cards [in Sweden]. I mean he’s on every national television show, every talk show… he’s taken the world by storm. Everybody in Ireland cannot wait for him to return.”
As for the rest of Europe, Cook is hopeful that the UFC will only look to expand what they are doing in 2014 for many more years.
“I think you’ve seen delivered by the UFC over the last ten years, no restrictions on their capability to go in a market and make a difference with the UFC,” Cook said. “Not only impacting MMA, but in my mind, changing the landscape in sport. So, there is no limit. Where there is an arena, there is a capability, in my mind.”