The UFC unveiled plans this week to host UFC 147: Silva Vs Sonnen 2 in a soccer stadium in Rio, but while MMA fans can’t wait to witness this spectacle, for the UFC themselves there’s a lot of hard work in store to make sure the June 23rd show goes according to plan.
UFC president Dana White has previously indicated that as many as 80,000 fans could pack into the Engenhao stadium, home to the ‘Botafugo’ soccer team, but given that in it’s usual layout the capacity is just 46,831 fans they’re going to have to put their thinking caps on to find out ways to accomodate more fans into the venue.
“We’re still scaling this thing,” White admits in a new interview with MMJunkie. “It will be between 60,000 and 80,000 people. It will beat Toronto.”
By ‘Toronto’, White is of course referring to last year’s UFC 129 event in Canada which was their first ever attempt at hosting a show in a stadium at the Rogers Centre and played host to 55,724 fans.
An outdoor soccer stadium provides new challenges however, and White says that even lighting the show will take some doing.
“To do the lighting rig inside one of those places? Did you see the last U2 concert? We tried to rent that claw – whatever that thing is, that claw thing. We tried to rent that thing from them and couldn’t get it because we couldn’t get it down there, so we’re building our own version of that thing.
There’s a lot of work that’s going to go into that show.”
White clearly thinks it’s be worth the effort though. In a separate interview conducted this week he claimed that UFC 147 will be one of the sporting events of 2012.