In the press conference held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on March 21, UFC president Dana White said that the Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen fight will take place in a soccer stadium in Rio, Brazil that holds 80,000 people. On Fuel TV's "UFC Tonight" show, Chael Sonnen said he still doesn't have a signed contract for his match with Anderson Silva, but plans for this blockbuster event continue to fall into place.
Out of 80,000 screaming UFC fans, how many people will be supporting Chael Sonnen? Maybe just the ones who flew in for that particular purpose. Undoubtedly, there are Brazilian fight fans who prefer to see Chael Sonnen win. But, it seems to me that the majority of people in the stadium will be rooting for the home country fighter, UFC champion Anderson Silva, to win.
Riots in Soccer Stadiums are not unusual
Holding the event in a soccer stadium—with such a volatile, trash-talking Chael Sonnen, who very nearly defeated Anderson in their last meeting in the cage—brings to mind some serious concerns for everyone's safety.
Dana White mentioned soccer fans and their willingness to torch the pitch by throwing flaming bottles from the stands onto the field. Dana was referring to the riot that took place at a Greek soccer game. Here's a quick look: "Panathinaikos Olympiakos-18-03-2012" video
Fights break out at UFC events. People get drunk and yell obscenities and get too loud. But it's always contained by security or ignored and tolerated because that's part of the flavor of being at a live event.
I'm just wondering how the Brazilian authorities and stadium security staff plan to handle the situations that are bound to happen in Rio. Riot police, police on horseback and the regular police force will be on hand and ready to step in as needed. I'm glad I'll be watching the events from a safe distance.
Violent Soccer Situations in Brazil
Soccer brings out the beast in fans who get disappointed about their team's result. Fans in the stands offer encouragement to the hooligans by singing and chanting while other fans are busy wreaking havoc on the field. video
"Four Botafogo fans were wounded by gunshots after the team's match against Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro during a weekend marked by violence between rival football supporters and police across Brazil…In the interior city of Campinas, police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd before the match between Ponte Preta and Sao Paulo…The Corinthians fans reportedly threw rocks at the buses carrying Palmeiras supporters as they passed near Corinthians' headquarters in Sao Paulo. Nobody was seriously injured, but police made nearly 20 arrests…The last reported death from fan violence in Brazil happened in November 2010, when a 19-year-old Cruzeiro fan was repeatedly beaten with iron bars during a brawl between dozens of rival fans in Belo Horizonte." source
What if Chael wins?
Chael will need some serious body guards surrounding him to protect him during his visit to Brazil. With so many people focused on this event, something is bound to happen.
Source: all other sources noted
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Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. She trains with Keith Florian and UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny
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