Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano pulled from UFC Sweden card over political concerns
Fighters Only is reporting that a women's MMA bout between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano was pulled from the upcoming April 6 UFC card in Sweden due to concerns on the part of UFC VP Garry Cook that it could create problems for the organization in a new market.
Saturday MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani tweeted the following bit of news Saturday:
Ariel Helwani: "Mayday is now sitting where he belongs. Dana says no co-main yet for 4/6. I was told it was gonna be Miesha-Cat, but that was moved to 4/13."
Helwani is referring to Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano which will be on The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale on April 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada and not UFC on Fuel TV 9: Gustafsson vs. Mousasi, where it would have co-mained the card.
Fighters Only followed up with a very interesting, albeit unconfirmed, explanation:
"The fight was pulled because it was felt by Garry Cook, the UFC VP in charge of UK and European operations, that it wasn't suited to the Swedish audience.
Sweden is a new market and there is still some considerable opposition to the UFC among that infamously liberal and ‘progressive' nation's press. Politically it is a very left-wing country and it was only in 2007 that a 1970 ban on professional boxing was lifted.
Alexander Gustafsson has spearheaded the charge into what has proven to be an unexpectedly lucrative market for the UFC, but the potential for the national press to dislike or misinterpret a women's fight was felt to be too high to risk."
It's very interesting that Cook's, presumably accurate, assessment of the cultural mores of Sweden are so different than our current situation in the U.S. where Ronda Rousey's upcoming UFC 157 bout has generated more positive mainstream press for MMA and the UFC than any development of the past five years.
If the report is true, Cook is right to be cautious. The UFC is doing very well in Sweden with men's MMA, there is no reason to risk that expansion by being overly aggressive. We've seen before in Germany (where MMA was banned from TV after a UFC event got a lot of publicity) that progress in European markets can quickly be set back by upset bureaucrats.