“You announce the arrival of the UFC in France for the next school year?
In effect ! We are very happy to announce our coming to Paris, on September 3, at the Accor Arena, in Bercy. And tickets will go on sale June 24!
What time will the event take place? There is a time difference between France and the United States which may affect the pay per view…
The event will be in prime time at Paris time. We believe this is very important. I don’t know exactly, but the hand card will begin at the beginning of the evening for you in Paris. For us, the most important thing is to satisfy the French fans, especially for a first comer. We want to offer the best card at the best time.
Will Ciryl Gane and Manon Fiorot be there? Can you already assure us?
We will obviously respect the best French chances, but at this stage we cannot announce anything certain. Stay tuned and we will undoubtedly announce great things to you. You will not be disappointed.
Are you going to sign new French fighters for the occasion?
I am not the best placed to answer you, we will have to see that with Dana White (UFC President), but the good news is that our match-makers always have an eye on France and are always looking for good fighters. But believe me, there will be plenty of French on the map, I can assure you.
“Our goal has never been to come first”
You land in France while your direct competitor, Bellator, has already come twice…
Our goal has never been to come first. But rather to be the first to offer the best show. We are incredibly excited to present our first event in Paris after all the efforts we have made, for more than 10 years, for MMA to be recognized around the world, particularly in France, with the Ministry of Sports, so that it can be broadcast on French TV channels, so that betting is allowed on UFC events… It has been a long journey to come to you, it has taken a lot of effort.
What does France represent in terms of commercial development for the UFC?
It’s absolutely a big potential market. We know there is a very large fan base in France. There is a real MMA culture, despite the long ban. France is also a kind of brand in itself, known all over the world, being present there is necessarily beneficial for us. And our long-term plan is to be present there on a regular basis, and probably on a multi-annual basis. We are convinced that organizing several events, in different cities, Paris and Marseille in particular, can be a real springboard for our development. We would love to have a recurring date and give us the opportunity to travel to France. Early September seems to us to be an interesting date.
Is your coming the beginning of a long history with France?
We hope. But we have been here for a long time already. As you know, and as I told you, we have been trying for more than ten years to educate people to understand this sport and to work for its recognition. By meeting coaches and club leaders in particular… It’s been a long road but, today, it’s a kind of accomplishment. One kind only, because there are still great things to do. It’s a long story, but it’s a new chapter that will open. »