MMAJunkie.com recently spoke with UFC President Dana White concerning recent reports that the Ultimate Fighting Championship would return to the country where its earliest origins lie for the first time in over ten years. GracieMag.com reported that the UFC has plans on holding an event in Brazil in November of 2011, marking the first time the UFC has appeared in South America since UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil (unofficially tagged as UFC 17.5) back in 1998. As White has now told MMAJunkie, holding an event in Brazil is a priority of the UFC’s but there is nothing concrete to report on just yet.
“It’s too early to tell,” White said. “We’re obviously interested in Brazil and bringing a fight down there, but we don’t know yet.”
Both White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta have told MMAJunkie in the past year that they are very interested in working towards holding an event in Brazil.
“We’re spending money in Brazil right now,” White said not too long ago. “We’re spending marketing money, PR money, and we’ve got people down there working for us. You get into these countries, and you have to go in there and cultivate the market. Look at how long we’ve been in the U.K. and how much money and effort and energy we’ve put into there, and we’re not on pay-per-view yet. It’s driving us crazy, but people don’t realize how much work we put into this thing – not only here in the U.S. and all the things we do here but all over the world. It’s a big job.”
For his part, Fertitta told MMAJunkie that he sees the UFC breaking back into the Brazilian market within the next year and that sites in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are being investigated (GracieMag reported that the event would be held in Rio de Janeiro).
“It looks like 2011,” Fertitta told MMAJunkie last month. “We’ve been working on that now for about a year. We’re trying to figure our whether we do it in Rio (de Janeiro) or Sao Paulo. Obviously, the market there is huge for the UFC. It’s been very popular over the past couple of years, and I think we’ll do pretty well there.”
Do you think the UFC will return to Brazil next year? Is White playing coy or is the MMA promotion’s South American return really up in the air? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.