UFC: Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi fight in Berlin as company continues expansion
Last Updated: 03/05/14 5:58pm
Berlin headliners Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi have spoken of their dream to lead the UFC’s globalisation to their families’ nations of the Philippines and the Netherlands, respectively.
They fight in Germany’s capital on May 31 but the middleweight pair, encouraged by the UFC’s worldwide expansion, hope to fight in front of their countrymen one day.
This event was considered for Manila in the Philippines – no stranger to a fight night.
“That’s where it all started for my family,” Munoz told Sky Sports. “It would have meant the world to me.
I’m looking forward to the time where the UFC actually have a card in the Philippines and they’re trying really hard to be able to get one.
“It would have been really nice, I’m not going to lie about that, so when I found out it was in Germany I was a little disappointed.
“I’m looking forward to the time where the UFC actually have a card in the Philippines and they’re trying really hard to be able to get one. I definitely want to be a part of that.”
Mousasi, born in Iran to Armenian parents but raised in the Netherlands, echoes his opponent’s future plans.
“I hope the Netherlands but I don’t know how big the sport is in Armenia.
“But I think in Holland there would be good fights – we have Alistair Overeem, we have Stefan Struve, I’m fighting out of Holland – so we could have a good card.”
Breaking down walls
But the immediate business takes place in Berlin, the UFC’s first venture to Germany in five years.
Last time, past and future champions such as Cain Velasquez and Rich Franklin competed but political wrangling marred the event with the sport almost banned altogether.
But the slickness of the Europe, Middle East & Asia scheme – efficient politically and culturally in new countries – means Germany has been promised an annual event.
In a city familiar with breaking down walls of acceptance the UFC bids to tick another territory off its list of converted fan-bases.
“Fighting here in Germany we need to educate the viewers and the people that watch about what mixed martial arts truly is,” Munoz continued. “I take pride in that.”
Mousasi said: “Germany is not a new market but it’s important to have a good impression so I need to perform.”
Munoz and Mousasi both lost to title challenger Lyoto Machida last time out and their recipe for recovery is no secret to each other.
“I have my advantage with the stand-up and he has an advantage in wrestling,” Mousasi claimed.
Munoz concurred: “I don’t want it on the feet, he does, so we’ll see.”
In the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate the door will slam shut on one contender as his opponent passes through.