Last month, the UFC announced middleweight king Anderson Silva (Pictured) would rematch Chael Sonnen on June 23rd at Engenhão Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fast forward less than 30 days and the United Nations have thrown a major monkey wrench into the Octagon’s UFC 147 plans.
The UN has scheduled their conference on Sustainable Development from June 20-22 in Brazil. Although the event’s website did not disclose how many are expected to attend the festivities, the three-day gathering is looking to host thousands of people.
“We’re working on it, it’s still a work in progress. We’re working through it trying to figure this whole thing out,” UFC president Dana White said during Saturday’s ‘UFC on FUEL TV 2‘ post-fight press conference. “The problem is, they don’t like the idea of us coming the same time this United Nations convention is going on.
“The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up. And we don’t think, we know that the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen fight is one of the biggest sporting events this year, in the world.”
Engenhão holds approximately 47,000 capacity for soccer matches, but the UFC should be able to increase that number significantly by reconfiguring the arena to accommodate their cage. The final tally should threaten the promotion’s all-time attendance record of 55,724, which was set last April at UFC 129 inside Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
“I think it’s a huge sporting event,” White said of the highly-anticipated sequel. “I think people will come to Rio from all over the world. I think we’re going to need hotel rooms. Hopefully, we’ll get this thing done in the next few days – one way or the other.”
After manhandling Silva for nearly five complete rounds at UFC 117, Sonnen was abruptly submitted by “The Spider” with only 110 ticks remaining on the clock. Since the August 2010 defeat, Sonnen has been doing everything within his power to land a rematch – including insulting every Brazilian fighter within earshot.