WITH a footprint firmly in China, the Australian Fighting Championship is set to explode throughout Asia as it bids to rival the biggest MMA promotions in the world.
AFC directors have announced plans to break into Singapore and Malaysia on the back of its inaugural visit to China.
Speaking at the grand opening of its state-of-the-art AFC MMA Club in Xian, China, founderAdam Milankovic and fellow director Kelly Sief revealed his company would branch out in Singapore on the weekend of the Grand Prix.
“We’ve built networks and friends all over the world and it’s given us an opportunity to leverage our brand around the world,” Milankovic said.
“This is our base, this is our grand opening and you can see our stadium, and we’ve got ourselves on the map now. It’s going to expand fast and we’re looking at our next show in Singapore during the Grand Prix, one in the Qingdao Beer Festival and more than two million people attend that event over the weekend and it will give us huge exposure.
“Our brand now is now an international brand and we’re the first promotion in Australia to make it big.
“We’re making history for Australia and martial arts.
“It’s just the beginning. We’ve got a club opening up in Shanghai and that will be up and running by September.
“For us, it grows our brand but it also helps the fighters grow because they’re fighting on the international stage.”
Eddie Wong, who leads operations in China, said he has grand plans for the AFC.
“We’re hoping in two years that we’ll have over 20 AFC clubs across China, but also in other Asian countries,” he said.
“That’s our aim right now and hopefully in five years the AFC will be everywhere.
“Right now we have had a lot of interest. A lot of people want to train here and they want to be part of the AFC.”
Shanghai Media Group will televise AFC events to an estimated audience of a million people.
“And that will only grow,” Wong added.
AFC 18 will be the dawn of a new era, with fight fans set to pack out the stadium for two blockbuster nights of action.
Tonight, the card will be headlined by the light heavyweight showdown between Rameau Sokoudjou and Marcelo Tenorio.
Sokoudjou is arguably the bigger name to grace the AFC octagon, having fought in many of the biggest MMA platforms in the world.
The Cameroon veteran has secured wins in Pride over MMA legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona, downed Kazuhiro Nakamura in the UFC and claimed stunning KO victories over Bob Sapp and Matt Hamill.
Trenorio is also a highly accomplished fighter, with four Muay Thai belts to his credit.
“I respect Sokoudjou, he’s a big name and a bigger fighter, but he doesn’t worry me,” Trenorio said after the weigh in.
Sokoudjou made only a brief appearance, tipping the scales almost a 1kg overweight.
Sydney’s Mikey Vaotuua, who endured a nightmare trip to China with his original flight cancelled, was also more than 1kg overweight for his bout against China’s Zhao Yufei.
Finland’s Glenn Sparv smashed the scales, weighing almost 5kg over the limit and his fight with Japan’s Yuki Sasaki was cancelled.
Tomorrow night, Kiwi James Bishop will take on Australian Isaac Hardman in the main event.
Originally published as AFC plans for huge Asian explosion
SOURCE: newsnow sport