The UFC’s return to Brazil last August was an unabashed success. So much so that the promotion is returning to Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 14 for UFC 142, featuring featherweight champion Jose Aldo defending his belt against Chad Mendes.
UFC president Dana White also recently confirmed that the first international version of The Ultimate Fighter reality series would be based in Brazil.
So it’s no surprise that the UFC may already be planning its next venture in the South American country. Reports out of Brazil have it that the UFC is working on a mega-event in Sao Paulo in June featuring middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
After the success of UFC 134 last year, where more than 16,000 tickets sold out in about an hour, company officials talked about doing a larger event at a soccer stadium in Brazil. The rumored June event could be such an event… if it happens.
White was asked about a possible June event in Sao Paulo following UFC 139 recently. While he didn’t confirm it, White’s denial of knowledge wasn’t exactly convincing.
“What happens is you guys get all this sneaky information and then I say stuff at the press conference and my whole crew says, ‘What are you doing?’” White commented, before adding, “I don’t know if we’re going to Sao Paulo in June and if Anderson Silva is headlining the card. I have no clue. That would be awesome though.”
That statement was made with an air of “I really shouldn’t be talking about this at all” hanging overhead, but a June event in Sao Paolo has yet to be confirmed.
The UFC was initially trying to line up a rematch between Silva and Chael Sonnen at its Super Bowl weekend event, UFC 143. Those plans were dashed, however, when it came to light that a Silva shoulder problem was more severe than they thought, sidelining the champ for the early part of 2012, fanning the flames for a June return.
Sao Paulo would be an ideal location for the UFC to do a giant stadium show. The city is one of the most populated in the world at more the 11,000,000 people and has drawn well north of 100,000 spectators for soccer games. Anderson Silva, of course, would make for the ideal headliner at a soccer stadium in South America. Such an event would likely blow the doors off of the record-setting 55,000-plus fans the UFC drew in its Toronto debut.
But for now, the speculation is just that, speculation.