UFC gearing up for Brazilian expansion
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Aug 09, 2010 at 8:45 am ET
Two of the UFC's five champions are Brazilian, and it soon could be five after Junior Dos Santos, who won a No. 1 contender's bout against Roy Nelson this past weekend at UFC 117, gets his shot at the heavyweight belt early next year.
But despite the Brazilians' success in the UFC, the organization hasn't hosted a show in their home country in nearly 12 years.
But according to UFC president Dana White, that soon could change.
"We're spending money in Brazil right now," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "We're spending marketing money, PR money, and we've got people down there working for us."
White long has hinted at the possibility of returning to Brazil, which hosted UFC 17.5 in 1998 and marked the promotional debuts of Pedro Rizzo and a then-22-year-old Wanderlei Silva. In fact, of the 16 fighter slots on the card, seven went to Brazilians.
The country long has been a hotbed of MMA and has produced some of the sport's best ground fighters. And with nearly 200 million residents, it represents an area with growth potential. But White said it's not as easy as simply hosting a single show. Instead, the UFC wants to build a foundation in Brazil.
"You get into these countries, and you have to go in there and cultivate the market," White said. "Look at how long we've been in the U.K. and how much money and effort and energy we've put into there, and we're not on pay-per-view yet. It's driving us crazy, but people don't realize how much work we put into this thing – not only here in the U.S. and all the things we do here but all over the world. It's a big job."
Regardless of the workload, expect UFC officials to share some updates soon.
"We're on it," White said. "We're going to be announcing some stuff real soon. Very soon. Real fast – like in the next couple of weeks.
"We're getting there. We're knocking this stuff down a lot faster than I thought we would."
For the full upcoming UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.