MSM is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television and will broadcast UFC programming on a new sports channel called SIX.
“When we went to India over a year ago, I felt the market held enormous potential for the UFC,” said UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in the official release. “India has a long history of martial arts and traditional wrestling like Kushti. Indian athletes have also demonstrated world-class levels in combat sports as evidenced by the country’s 2008 Olympic medalists in wrestling and boxing.”
India has long been a coveted target in the UFC’s plan for international expansion. The promotion recently debuted its first overseas version of “The Ultimate Fighter” in Brazil, and India is now rumored to be standing in the “TUF” on-deck circle.
While the UFC has never held an event in India, the sport is not a foreign concept in the country, which houses roughly 1.2 billion residents. Super Fight League was conceived late last year and held its first event on March 11 in Mumbai. SFL 2 is slated to take place April 7 in Chandigarh.
The UFC also debuted new social media platforms to coincide with Thursday’s broadcast deal announcement, launching UFC India profiles on Twitter and Facebook.
“We are delighted to be bringing the best of the sport of mixed martial arts to India,” said Man Jit Singh, MSM CEO. “Mixed martial arts requires tremendous physical conditioning, skill and strategy, and we hope it will be an inspiration to young India. We hope the programming that will be premiered on our sports channel, SIX, will motivate a new generation to compete on the world stage in one of the fastest growing sports.”