As part of the UFC’s ever expanding footprint worldwide, president Dana White announced on late Wednesday night that the promotion has signed a developmental deal with SHOOTO to promote and operate a tournament to help produce new talent in the Asian market.
Most MMA fans should be familiar with SHOOTO considering the huge list of fighters that have fought under the promotion’s banners over the years. Names such as Caol Uno, Takanori Gomi, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki and even Anderson Silva go their start working with SHOOTO.
The new deal signed this week will promote the Vale Tudo Japan tournament, which will feature bantamweights and featherweights with the eventual winner moving on to sign a contract with the UFC.
"Much like The Ultimate Fighter, this series will continue to cultivate and popularize top talent for us in new markets. The round-robin tournament concept is going to make for amazing fights, with a lot at stake," White said on Wednesday. "Every fight will matter, every performance will count. I am so excited to be back in Japan."
The tournament will air on terrestrial television in Japan and the promotion expects to announce more details when the UFC returns to Japan in September for a UFC Fight Night card headlined by Roy Nelson vs. Mark Hunt in a five round heavyweight main event.