, Port Arthur, Texas


April 12, 2014

David Estrada column: UFC is touching all global bases

PORT ARTHUR — With World Cup soccer starting to get in people’s minds, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has proven itself to be the combat sports equivalent of FIFA. One can look at the months of March and April to make this comparison.

 The UFC has touched most of the corners on the globe in these months. In March, the promotion held events in China, England, Texas and Brazil. On Friday, they held an event in Abu Dhabi and have other scheduled April events in Quebec and Maryland.  

 The Ultimate Fighter reality, show which was created to discover and showcase talent, is currently airing a season in Brazil, pitting American coach Chael Sonnen against Brazilian Wanderlei Silva’s team. The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia, which pairs each of the two countries’ fighters against each other, will have its finale later this month in Quebec.

 With such expansion, the UFC adapted logistically.  With so many events going on around the world there are now three sets of English announcing crews; longtime staples Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan could not do it alone. There are Octagons around the world and new Octagon Girls that work events held on their continents.  

 The key component to the UFC’s globalization success is, of course, the fighters. The UFC brilliantly places the perfect fighters on the right fight card in a city or country to make it the biggest draw possible.  

 Take for instance the UFC Fight Night 39 event held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi holds the annual World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup and ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship which are two of the most prestigious grappling combat tournaments in the world.  

 Tailor-made for the Abu Dhabi audience, headlining the event was Brazilian Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, who is world-renowned for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu abilities. He faced off against American Roy “Big Country” Nelson who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt as well. In fact, the entire card was peppered with grappling-inclined fighters – perfect for the ground fighting-knowledgable Abu Dhabi spectators.  

 The UFC also places fighters from the area on the card. A recent example of this is Dallasite Johny Hendricks headlining the UFC 171 card in Dallas. This area-known person for the UFC Fight Night 39 event was Japanese MMA legend Tatsuya Kawajiri. Although not from the Middle East, Kawajiri is familiar to the Abu Dhabi audience after fighting in many Japanese PRIDE and DREAM contests which is closer time-zone wise allowing for a fan following to develop.

 With fights being held at so many different areas and times on the globe, airing these on television became a TV executive's nightmare. The Abu Dhabi event was held in their evening, which equated to Friday 1 p.m. CDT in the United States. The TV ratings would be virtually non-existent if aired in the middle of a workday.

 That is a reason why the UFC rolled out UFC Fight Pass. For a monthly subscription fee, UFC fans could view fights from the other side of the world by streaming them on their computers or tablet devices. This service may be for just the hardcore MMA fan and not the casual viewer but the 24/7 access it provides is quite impressive.  

 In other recent news, the UFC will be coming back to our part of the globe in June. UFC President Dana White announced the global MMA juggernaut will hold a June event in San Antonio (coincidently right in the middle of FIFA World Cup soccer).

 The fight card is yet to be set but, if the UFC continues with its formula of stacking cards with familiar or area fighters, one could expect some Texans fighting down in San Antonio.

  David Estrada is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at


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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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From the Fieldhouse blog