Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
Brazil has long yearned for a big, showcase UFC event since the promotion returned to the country in August 2011 at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro.
That was the first UFC show in Brazil’s city of glamour—the country’s second after UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil (or UFC 17.5) which took place in the country’s most populous city of Sao Paolo back in 1998.
In the five years since the UFC’s return to Brazil, they have had 23 events spanning cities such as the aforementioned Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo—as well as Goiania, Porto Alegre, Barueri, Uberlandia, Brasilia, Natal, Jaragua do Sul, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. Brazilians have both praised and derided some of the UFC’s choices of location, given their lack of history or apparent interest in MMA or those cities’ relative isolation in such a large country.
For instance, where are the events in Salvador or Curitiba? These are Brazil’s third and eighth most populous cities respectively and both have big-name Brazilian fighters to hail from each conurbation.
Of those 23 events, just seven were UFC pay-per-view shows. Bearing in mind the fact you can comfortably hold PPV events in Brazil given their relatively insignificant time zone differences with the USA, this is a surprisingly low figure.
Brazil’s smattering of Fight Night cards have been filled to the brim with local up-and-comers with the bill topped by a big Brazilian name against an American or European opponent. Brazilians, like the Europeans, have complained their UFC shows are too geared towards nationalism/regionalism and would like to see the UFC’s top stars—not just those who hail from the same area as the fans in the stands.
It makes sense from a business perspective. How else can you build stars if a fighter’s own countrymen and women aren’t willing to buy into what ….View full article