UFC tops Yahoo!'s-who's list

JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

Dana White's quest for world domination drew one step closer yesterday.

His Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise was the No. 1 searched item on the Yahoo! search directory -- the unofficial barometer of all that's cool and important.

UFC beat out Angelina Jolie (No. 14), American Idol (No. 8), the NBA playoffs (No. 10) and even World Cup soccer (No. 6) as the most sought after topic in cyberspace.

"We're definitely not cooler than Angelina Jolie but a lot of people are checking us out," White told the Sun yesterday.

Fresh off the success of UFC 60 -- which featured welterweight champ Matt Hughes pounding martial arts legend Royce Gracie in a first-round vitory -- the UFC juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter -- currently airing on Spike TV -- regularly draws more male viewers in the desirable 18-39 category than basketball, baseball and hockey.

Season 4 of the popular reality show is already filming and plans to set up Ultimate Fighter Mexico and Ultimate Fighter South Africa are already in the works.

The fighting machine also plans to set up offices in London before year's end and stage fights across Europe beginning in March.

As first reported in the Sun, the UFC hopes to make its Canadian debut soon, with a welterweight championship fight that would feature Hughes defending his belt against Montrealer Georges St.Pierre. The UFC has been in talks with sanctioning bodies in Montreal and Edmonton to host the fight.

But despite the big plans to carve deep into unchartered territory, the fighting organization is heading back to its home base for the next big round of bouts.

UFC 61: Bitter Rivals is scheduled for July 8 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and will feature a rematch for the heavyweight belt between champ Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovsky as well as a much anticipated showdown between TUF Season 3 coaches and sworn enemies Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz.


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