The UFC will spearhead its foray into the Latin American market with a brand new international season of the Ultimate Fighter.
The promotion announced on Thursday that “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” is now open for registration for Latin American fighters of all weight classes. The series will begin filming in Las Vegas this Spring.
According to a press release sent out today by the UFC,“Eligible candidates must be between 21 and 34 years old, speak Spanish, have a minimum of three professional MMA fights, and hold a verifiable winning record. They must also be citizens of one of the following countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.”
The Ultimate Fighter has had its fair share of winners from a Latin background. Mexican American Diego Sanchez won the first season of the Ultimate fighter, while Mexican born Efrain Escudero won the eight season of the show. In addition, Mexican Americans Tony Ferguson (Season 13) and Kelvin Gastelum (Season 17) have also won their respective seasons of the reality show.
No coaches or broadcast details have been announced at this time.
The move to create an Ultimate Fighter season around Latin American fighters is the right move for the promotion. As we have seen in the past, the Ultimate Fighter can help create personalities that fans can rally around. If the UFC can create a Latin American star that is received well by multiple Spanish speaking countries, they may have very well found their second meal ticket into the Latin American market after Cain Velasquez.
It has yet to be seen what weight classes will be chosen for this season, but the safest bet will be fighters below 155 pounds. In boxing the most successful fighters from Latin America are below 155 pounds. Notable Latin American boxers Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez, and Julio Cesar Chavez have all competed below 155 for a majority of their respective careers.
The UFC’s foreign expansion will be very interesting to watch over the next few years but the promotion seems to know what they are doing. Bringing a season of the Ultimate Fighter to Latin American audiences is the easily the smartest way for the promotion to grow.
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