UFC Signs Developmental Deal with Vale Tudo Japan to Promote Tournament Series


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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is establishing some serious roots in the Far East.

UFC President Dana White announced late Wednesday night that the Las Vegas-based promotion has signed a deal with Vale Tudo Japan to “promote and operate a new tournament series projected to debut later this year.”

The tournament, which White likened to “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, is expected to feature fighters from the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. The fights will air on Japanese terrestrial television, according to a release. More details regarding the agreement will be unveiled when the Octagon touches down in Japan this September for UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Nelson.”

“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. "Every fight will matter, every performance will count. I am so excited to be back in Japan."

Hosted by the Shooto organization, Vale Tudo Japan debuted in 1994 and ran until 1999. Reunion events were held in 2009, 2012 and 2013. The first two VTJ events were tournaments, both of which were won by Rickson Gracie.

The UFC is scheduled to return to Japan on Sept. 20, when Roy Nelson meets Mark Hunt in a heavyweight Fight Night headliner at the Saitama Super Arena.

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