As expected, the UFC announced in Rio de Janeiro Wednesday the Octagon will make its long awaited debut in Brazil’s most exotic city on August 27th, 2011.
Joining UFC president Dana White at this morning’s press conference were company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, Hall of Famer Royce Gracie and reigning champions Anderson Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Jose Aldo.
“That’s a lot of gold up here,” White said as his kingpins flossed their bling-bling belts on the podium. “It goes to show how much talent and quality of talent are in Brazil,” White said.
Fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort was also in attendance, however former light heavyweight title holder Lyoto Machida pulled a no-show to attend his brother’s fight in Salvador.
“Ten years [after buying the company], here we are today answering the one question over the last 10 years I’ve been asked the most, ‘When are you going to be doing a fight in Brazil?'” Fertitta said. “We look forward to helping to grow the sport in Brazil and making a significant economic impact on the city of Rio.”
UFC 137 will mark the Octagon’s first sniff of Brazilian soil since “UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil” went down in October 1998. Then-middleweight champ Frank Shamrock defended his title by submitting John Lober in the card’s featured contest.
Wanderlei Silva was TKO’d in 44 seconds by Belfort in the card’s co-main event.
“This isn’t a test,” White said of their South American venture. “We believe this works everywhere. It definitely works in Brazil. All you have to do is look at the dais here. The guy who started it, the youngest champ, the best pound-for-pound, a top 10 pound-for-pound. This isn’t a test, it’s going to work in Brazil.”
The show will take place inside the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tickets are expected to go on sale in May.
“I’m sure there are a lot of Brazilians that will want to fight on this card in Rio,” White smugly stated.