Long wait over for mixed martial arts fans as UFC set to hold fight card at MOA Arena
SM Lifestyle Entertainment president Edgar Tejerero, SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy and UFC executive vice president Kenneth Berger make the announcement on Thursday.

THE long wait for Filipino mixed martial arts fans is soon to be over.

After years of anticipation among MMA fans, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is finally set to hold its maiden event in the Philippines on May 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

UFC Asia executive vice president and general manager Ken Berger confirmed the development on Thursday, making the country as the fifth Asian market for the world’s largest MMA organization after similar events in Macau, Singapore, Japan, and United Arab Emirates.

“The Philippines is a key market for us,” Berger said in a press conference on Thursday. “Everything is set up for success here … so we’re very excited to come here.”

The fight card is expected to be announced in March, but Filipino UFC campaigners Mark Eddiva and Roldan Sangcha-an could be included in the Fight Night card.

“(Deciding the fight card is) a very complicated and strategic process,” Berger said. “Our matchmakers are working on that now. We’re watching how our fighters perform and the local fighters play out. All that will be sorted out in the following weeks.”

Another Pinoy pride in middleweight contender Mark Muñoz could also be in the mix, but his availability will depend on his fight next month against Roan Carniero in UFC 184 in Los Angeles.

“But of course his popularity here is unquestioned,” Berger said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos