Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White confirmed
that the UFC will return to Brazil in 2012.
In wake of the tremendous success of UFC
134, UFC President Dana White made the decision to not stay
away from Brazil for long. In fact, the promotion will head back to
Rio de Janeiro in January, according to an announcement White made
News of the
UFC’s return was first revealed by referee Mario Yamasaki, who
confirmed to Sherdog.com that Zuffa LLC representatives have asked
him to be part of the show. White made the plans official in an
interview with UOL, Brazil’s largest news website.
“Yes, the UFC will head back to Brazil by January, and we’re
already working on the next UFC Rio,” White said. “[UFC CEO]
Lorenzo [Fertitta] has been traveling around Brazil over the last
few weeks to discuss this kind of question. We’re running against
time to set the lineup and final details.”
Yamasaki admits he was caught off guard.
“The UFC called me to be the referee,” he said. “They sent me an
e-mail asking if I would be available on Jan. 14. I didn’t know it
wasn’t official, so I tweeted it. Then, all the Brazilian media
jumped on it, and I immediately sent an e-mail asking for
apologies. But, for sure, the UFC will be in Rio on Jan. 14. I also
believe there will be other shows in Sao Paulo and Manaus.”
The UFC returned to Brazil in August after a 13-year absence, but
preparations for that event were being made in December 2010. This
time, matchmaker Joe Silva will have only two months to pair the
fights. White does not seem concerned.
“I can’t give any further information about the deals for another
UFC Rio show,” he said. “I can’t tell anything further, but I can
assure that we signed everything in a record time.”
Yamasaki believes the UFC can give Rio de Janeiro’s fans another
high-level lineup like UFC 134, which featured UFC middleweight
Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight titleholder Antonio
Rodrigo Nogueira and former UFC light heavyweight champion
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The referee told Sherdog.com the next show
will not take place at the 16,000-seat HSBC Arena.
“The UFC has a plenty of possibilities to match up great fighters,”
Yamasaki said. “They don’t need more than two days to define a
lineup, and they will give the fans great fights again. Rio de
Janeiro’s second show will take place somewhere other than HSBC
Arena; maybe it will happen in a soccer stadium. The UFC website
received 400,000 requests from people interested in tickets.”
Colin Foster contributed to this report.