It looks like the UFC will be making its way back to Brazil sooner rather than later.
Last night, UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami went down at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking the first time since 1998 that the promotion had held an event in the country. The local buzz surrounding the event was almost unprecedented; fans came out of the woodwork in support of the show and major Brazilian media quickly got educated to cover the event.
In addition to the very warm welcome that they received, the UFC also did good numbers there and could potentially do much better.
“We might be here every weekend,” UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight presser.
“I’ve been doing events all over the world for the last 10 years,” he said. “Brazil wins for the loudest crowd ever. The cool thing about this show, too, was the place was packed from the first fight of the night. The first fight of the night sounded like the title fight.”
Preliminary figures are indicating that the fight card was possibly viewed in up to thirty million Brazilian homes, an enormous amount for the pay-per-view based company.
“We’re getting early polling back from TV in Brazil that we did a 20 percent share tonight, which could be almost 30 million homes,” he said. “Huge.”
White had indicated during fight week that he and his partners were kicking themselves for not staging the event in a larger arena, as it looked like they could have easily sold 100,000 tickets.
“This was a successful event before it even happened,” White said. “The reality is that we came in, and a lot of people were looking for tickets for this event. We could have sold more tickets. We could have done some big, huge, major events out in the streets, including the weigh-ins and everything else. We wanted this one to go smooth, get it behind us and move on to the next one.”
With their first Brazilian event behind them, White and company are eagerly awaiting a return to the birthplace of MMA. Plans were revealed to open a UFC office in Brazil to fully take advantage of the rabid MMA market in the country and White wasn’t shy in stating that the promotion is going to bust out all the stops next time around.
“We’re jumping big next time,” he said. “We’re going big. We’re not playing around next time.”