With the UFC set to make its long-awaited return to Brazil in exactly 10 days when the curtain is drawn on UFC 134, company president Dana White claims their mission is to plaster the Octagon throughout jiu jitsu country.
“It’s amazing how fast this has grown in Rio,” White stated during Tuesday’s press conference in Texas. “Their economy is exploding. We felt Brazil could be big, we just didn’t realize how big.
“We end up getting a 14,000-seat area [for UFC 134]. The day the tickets went on sale, 300,500 people were online looking for tickets. So we probably could have done a soccer stadium. So I am kicking myself in the ass a little bit there.”
It’s been over a decade since the Octagon last held a show on Brazilian soil. In 1998, Sao Paulo hosted “UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil,” but that was under a completely different regime. Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, now runs the MMA universe and they’ve had global expansion on their mind since day one.
With the UFC set to make their “debut” in Brazil, White fully intends on doing it Zuffa-style in order to lay the proper groundwork for future shows.
“We’re focusing on Brazil, right now,” White professed. “We’re gonna fly to all the different cities down there and we’re meeting with mayors and politicians and we’re talking about moving this thing all over that country.”
UFC 134 takes place August 27th inside the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The pay-per-view broadcast features the country’s most popular mixed martial artist and reigning middleweight king Anderson Silva against Yushin Okami.