UFC returning to Brazil, headed to Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on Aug. 27
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Dec 15, 2010 at 11:05 am ET
For the first time in nearly 13 years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is headed to Brazil.
Today during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, UFC officials and a host of Brazilian fighters announced the organization's 2011 return to the city.
Following weeks of rumors about the show, UFC president Dana White today confirmed the organization will host a "major" pay-per-view card on Aug. 27 at the 18,000-seat HSBC Arena.
"This is another historic day for the UFC," White said.
Joining White in making the announcement were UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie, and current UFC fighters Anderson Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Jose Aldo and Vitor Belfort.
Officials haven't announced any specific fights for the event, and it's too soon to know how it'll be numbered. But White promises it'll be a major event with some of the organization's top fighters, including a lineup that could be populated primarily by Brazilian-born fighters. According to White, the organization currently has 36 Brazilians under contract.
The UFC's first and only event in the South American country took place in October 1998. The show, "UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil" (also known as UFC 17.5), took place at Ginasio da Portuguesa in Sao Paulo. Middleweight champ Frank Shamrock defended his belt with a submission win over John Lober in the headliner, and Pat Miletich scored a split-decision win over Mikey Burnett to become the organization's first lightweight champ. (The title later became the welterweight championship.)
Since the UFC's current ownership group, Zuffa LLC, purchased the organization in early 2001, White often has been asked about the possibility of a return to Brazil. Over the years, the answers have ranged from possible to likely. But in the past year, with the country's economy booming and a continued influx of Brazilian fighters to the UFC's roster, White and other executives made the possibility of a return to Brazil sound like a foregone conclusion.
Now with an event officially on the books, the organization will look to build a foundation in the country. That could mean return trips to Brazil, which hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, in the future.
For the latest on the UFC in Brazil card, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.