The UFC cannot yet confirm a rumored return to Brazil in October, but that probably doesn’t mean the promotion isn’t trying to lock something up.
Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC’s director of international development, on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that a rumored Oct. 9 show in Brazil can’t yet be confirmed – but there indeed are plans in place for more events in the country in 2013 after the next two.
UFC 163 takes place next week in Rio de Janeiro, and on Sept. 4, the promotion returns to Belo Horizonte for UFC Fight Night 28. The rumored Oct. 9 show does not yet have a location attached to it – part and parcel, perhaps, to the UFC not being able to announce some Brazil cards farther in advance.
“We’ve got our event in September in Belo Horizonte, which just went on sale, so we have effectively two events on sale in Brazil at the same time,” Zelaznik said. “We are bringing more events to Brazil, but as far as October is concerned, we’re not in a position to confirm anything. Venues are always an issue for us to try to find the right venue that fits into our schedule. While we do have plans to bring more events beyond the two currently on sale, we don’t have any dates or venues yet committed for those.”
So far in 2013, the UFC has been to Sao Paulo for UFC on FX 7 in January, Jaragua do Sul for UFC on FX 8 in May and Fortaleza for UFC on FUEL TV 10 in June. The August and September events will make five in the South American country this calendar year, which will equal as many as have been held there in all prior years combined.
So it’s obvious the UFC’s push there will continue in a major way.
“The one thing we know is that there’s an appetite in Brazil for UFC live events,” Zelaznik said. “Between our (television) partners with Globo and Globosat, and Combat Channel, there’s also a huge demand for television media to cover the events. We’re trying to satisfy all the demand there, and we’re committed for the year and years to follow to bring five-plus events into the region. I see that happening – I see us bringing more events.”
In 2014, Brazil hosts the FIFA World Cup for soccer, and in 2016, the Olympic Games take place in the country. Looking long-term, Zelaznik believes that will open up the door to make things even easier for the UFC to put on shows with the same kind of regularity 2013 ultimately will see, and then some.
“I think after the World Cup and Olympics, more venues will become available to us,” he said. “But we’ve now got a very strong foundation in Brazil and we’re going to keep bringing events there. We’ve got amazing Brazilian talent that the fans there want to see, so we’re going to do our job to bring their fellow countrymen to watch them fight.”
UFC 163, which takes place at Rio’s HSBC Arena with a main card on pay-per-view after prelims on FX and Facebook, features a featherweight title fight between Brazilian champion Jose Aldo and top contender Chan Sung Jung, “The Korean Zombie.”
For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Marshall Zelaznik)