In a special announcement today at the UFC 118 post-fight press conference in Boston, Massachusetts, White and Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC Chairman and CEO, introduced Fischer and discussed their plans to promote the sport of MMA and the UFC brand across Asia.
“Today marks an historic milestone for the UFC,” said White. “We are thrilled to have Mark Fischer on our team. We have big plans for Asia and with his experience building the NBA brand, he’s the perfect person to lead this charge. We are excited to be working with him as we increase the UFC’s popularity in Asia and grow UFC into the biggest sport in the world.”
The establishment of a formal operation and hiring of Fischer as the UFC’s on-the-ground presence demonstrates the company’s commitment and long-term plans for Asia, which includes growing a roster of local talent as well as strong relationships with the many sports federations in the region, including the China National Wushu Federation.
"Asia is one of the most important global sports markets, and this is especially true when it comes to the UFC organization," said Fertitta. "We have great respect for Asia's martial arts heritage, and it's our goal in the coming years to attract Asia’s best athletes and bring the UFC brand to the forefront of the region."
White and Fertitta also announced that the organization has already signed Tiequan Zhang from Inner Mongolia, and that he will have his first fight in September as a lightweight in the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization, a sister company to the UFC that features all the best lighter weight fighters in the world.
With more than two decades of sports business, marketing and media experience in Asia, Fischer will lead Asia operations for the UFC as Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Asia.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta as the UFC breaks new international ground,” said Fischer. “I look forward to working with them in coming years as we build this fast-growing market and further establish the UFC brand in Asia.”
A sports industry veteran, Fischer has spent the past 20 years working in Asia. Most recently, in 2009, he founded Sports & Entertainment Asia Ltd (SEA), which provides strategic marketing and representation services to sports properties seeking opportunities in China and other Asian markets. Prior to establishing SEA, Fischer worked for 12 years at the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NBA Asia and was responsible for the development of the NBA’s businesses and operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
From 2003 to 2008, Fischer led the NBA’s explosive growth in China, overseeing the expansion of the league’s branding and basketball development initiatives in China. During this period, Fischer built NBA China’s on-ground operations in Beijing and Shanghai and cultivated more than 20 marketing partnerships with leading multinational and domestic brands. He spearheaded a full range of on-ground events such as the NBA China Games and other integrated media and marketing initiatives as well as established the NBA’s groundbreaking partnership with the Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena. These achievements, in combination with his pivotal role in a $253 million investment road show, led to the establishment of NBA China in late 2007 as a separate corporate entity valued at more than $2 billion.
Fischer joined the NBA and established NBA Taiwan, Ltd. in 1997 before being promoted to Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships and Events for NBA Asia, Ltd., a regional position headquartered in Hong Kong, in 1999.
Before his position with the NBA, Fischer worked as Vice President of Richina Media Holdings Ltd. in Beijing, where he established an advertising and sports marketing agency and launched Chinese editions of several foreign content publications.
Fischer holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and lives in Beijing with his wife and two children.
Fischer’s position with the UFC is already in effect. More information regarding UFC developments in Asia will be available in the near future.
White and Fischer officially made this announcement at 1am Eastern Time, Sunday, August 29, inside the TD Garden in Boston.