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UFC to host first event in China

The Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts series will stage its first event in mainland China later this year.

The Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai will stage the November 25 event, which will feature international and homegrown UFC stars. General Tire will serve as the presenting sponsor.

Tickets will go on sale at early-bird rates from tomorrow (Tuesday).

“We are always asked when the UFC will be making its debut in mainland China,” UFC senior vice-president of international and content, Joe Carr, said. “We are honoured to confirm that Shanghai will be the home of the very first live UFC event in mainland China and to say that we are excited is an understatement. The entire organisation is looking forward to making history this year.”

Michael Ma, the chief executive of the China division of the UFC’s parent company, the WME|IMG agency, added: “MMA is developing rapidly in China and amassing a large fan base. This is an exciting first step to making the sport a mainstay here.”

In the months leading up to the event, top UFC athletes will hold meet-and-greet events with fans in Shanghai and other Chinese cities. The first UFC fighter tour with featherweight champion Max Holloway will take place on Thursday and Friday of this week.

The Shanghai event comes amongst a packed schedule of international UFC contests in the closing months of 2017, with 12 shows in six countries planned between October 7 and December 30. Events will take place in Las Vegas in the US on October 7, Gdansk in Poland on October 21, Sao Paulo in Brazil on October 28, New York in the US on November 4, Virginia in the US on November 11, Sydney in Australia on November 18, Shanghai in China on November 25, Las Vegas on December 1, Detroit in the US on December 2, Winnipeg in Canada on December 16 and Las Vegas on December 30.