UFC 134: Rio is still a few days away, but that hasn’t stopped the UFC from mapping out their return trip to Brazil and after admitting that they understimated public demand for tickets to Saturday’s show they are pulling out all the stops to ensure that won’t be an issue next time.
Yesterday UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta revealed that the promotion have targeted Manaus, the state capital of the Amazonas as the next destination for a major event in 2012.
Manaus is the home of current featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Strikeforce middleweight title holder Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, and also happens to be the birthplace of ‘Vale Tudo’, the ‘No-Holds Barred’ precursor to MMA.
The city also holds an arena known as the ‘Sambadrome’ which can pack in up to 100,000 spectators, and it is this venue that the UFC has targeted as they look to smash their previous attendance record set earlier this year when 55,000 fans witnessed UFC 129 at the Rogers Center in Toronto, Canada.
“The opportunity to bring the UFC to Manaus and to the home of some of our great fighters makes us so excited,” said Fertitta during a press conference in Brazil. “Our expectation is that Manaus will set a new attendance record, with 100,000 people watching the show.”
Not only is that a thrilling prospect for MMA fans and a testimant to the remarkably rapid growth of the sport around the globe, but it’s also an exciting time for the city of Manaus as their state governor Omar Aziz explains.
“Imagine all those people from all around the world getting to know Manaus and Amazonas,” Aziz stated. “This will build a huge legacy for our city. Jose Aldo and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza are two great fighters from here, and [the event] will bring more [fan] interest for us. Not long ago, Amazonas was the second-largest jiu-jitsu hotspot in Brazil. We hope to develop partnerships with businessmen and media vehicles to make the show a success.”
Every year the UFC seems to outdo itself, and if this announcement is any indication then they are set to do so yet again in 2012.