The UFC held a press conference in Brazil today to announce the promotion’s first event in the UFC: Ultimate Brazil in October of 1998.
Billed as UFC: Rio, Dana White announced that the event would take place on Saturday, August 27th of next year in Rio De Janeiro at the HSBC Arena. Tickets will be available in May and the event will air live on pay-per-view.
White had earlier described the announcement as, “monumental news” with Brazil having become synonymous with the sport and currently proving three of the UFC’s current champion’s in Jose Aldo (featherweight), Anderson Silva (middleweight) and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (Light-heavyweight).
In fact the UFC currently have 36 Brazilian fighters under contract and White confirmed that many of them would appear on the card, and promised, “trust me, we’ll bring some fights that will excite the fans down here.”. Given that a lot of fights still have to take place before the event he couldn’t give any specific names just yet though.
Aldo, Silva, Rua, Vitor Belfort and the UFC’s first ever champion Royce Gracie were amongst those who joined White and Lorenzo Fertitta at the historic conference.
The promotion have been considering a return to South America for some time, but the UFC president says that Rio De Janeiro being chosen as the destination for the 2016 Summer Olympics, in addition to the World Cup in 2014 had boosted the regions economy and gave them the extra push they needed to return to Brazil for the first time in over a decade.
The City’s mayor Eduardo Paes was also in attendance at the event and he’ll no doubt have been happy to hear Fertitta’s comments regarding the benefits the UFC can bring to the city.
“We look forward to helping to grow the sport in Brazil and making a significant economic impact on the city of Rio,” Fertitta said.
In answer to a question from the media White also stated that they were not seeing this event as a one-off experiment.
“This isn’t a test, this will work in Brazil,” White said with confidence.