In late 2015, boxing champ Amir Khan became a part-owner of Indian MMA promotion Super Fight League (SFL). Now, the British fighter says he and the SFL have plans to expand the promotion's territory throughout South Asia, the mid-east and even to the United Kingdom.
"We’re targeting countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan because there is a massive fighting culture in those countries," Khan tells The Mirror.
"Then we want to bring it to England. We've got a couple of meetings with broadcasters so we're looking to get them on board."
Khan wants to bring a team-version of MMA to Britain, somewhat similar perhaps to what the International Fight League did, some years ago. Khan, however, draws a comparison to elite European soccer.
"It's similar to the Premier League with eight teams competing against each other on a week-to-week basis," he continued.
"At the moment we're looking to do city vs city or state vs state...There will be eight fights every week and a points system. Depending on how you win a fight - by KO, stoppage or tap-out - there are different points. If it's a draw, both teams get a point each."
To date, no major promotion has been able to find sustained success with any type of team format for MMA. No major promotion before the SFL has ever tried a soccer-type of format that also does more than pay lip service to European, near-east and Asian countries, however.
The SFL has kept going strong since 2012, and it will be interesting to see how much more they can grow, especially with a star like Khan involved. Khan last fought and lost to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in May, but got back in the gym a few days ago and promised to compete again in early 2017.
For now, the boxer looks to be sticking to his own sport, in hopes of recovering from injuries and getting back in the win-column this coming year.