From Anaheim, California to the city of Dubai, the UFC is truly a global phenomenon. Just like how UFC fighters come from all over the world, the UFC will host events all over the world. Here’s a look at all the countries that have hosted a UFC event.
Nearly 25 countries have hosted UFC events
Exactly 24 countries have hosted a UFC event. Here they are, according to how many UFC events each has hosted (most to least): the United States, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Ireland, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, South Korea, and Uruguay.
However, the UFC is already planning on hosting events in new countries soon. For example, the UFC will go to Denmark for the first time in late 2019 where they’ll host UFC Copenhagen.
The UFC is a global sport
The main reason why the UFC brings an event to countries other than the United States is to popularize the organization. They’ll often stack the event with fighters who have connections to the country. Usually, they’ll put hometown heroes in those events. For example, UFC 241, held in California, featured many fighters who were either born and raised in California or live there currently.
Sometimes they’ll base this connection on something else. For example, at UFC 242 in Dubai, the UFC stacked the event full of Muslim fighters as Dubai is in a predominantly Muslim country. This strategy works well for the UFC. A lot of fans will buy tickets just to see their local fighters compete. When Conor McGregor was a newer fighter, for example, he gained many Irish fans as he fought in Ireland whenever the UFC went there.
This happened recently when the UFC held an event in China. It was headlined by a Chinese fighter, Zhang Weili. She knocked out her opponent and won the title, instantly making her a star in China.
Bigger UFC fights
However, when it comes to the biggest fights, like title fights, the UFC tends to keep things in North America. It will rarely host a numbered event outside of the country. However, with the sport’s growing popularity, the UFC is starting to do this more and more. UFC 242 is an example, and UFC 243 will also occur in a different country, this time in Australia.
This is primarily the reason why most UFC events take place in the U.S. or Canada. It’s simply the closest place to where most UFC fighters live and train. However, the UFC has also hosted many events, including numbered events, in countries like Brazil and the United Kingdom. These places were home to many UFC fighters and champions, so whenever they fought there, it was like a homecoming.
Obviously, no UFC fights have been in Africa. The UFC is already thinking about changing that. The organization already has two African champions, Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya, both born in Nigeria. Francis Ngannou, one of the best heavyweights right now, is also from Cameroon, Africa. An event hosted in Africa would be a big moment for the UFC.
India is another big question mark for the organization. There are very few Indian UFC fighters, but with India’s massive population and economy, it’s still a possibility.