It was October of 1998 the first time the UFC took their show to Brazil, and it has been a long time since then. That first time out, the show was in Sao Paulo, and the whole UFC entourage stayed at a downtown Best Western in a whore laden neighborhood that was downright dangerous. They couldnt keep Tank Abbott out of a place called ‘The Castle’ where he partied lol.
I trust that the UFC with their more updated resources is doing things right this time. That first time was a zoo!
The UFC was run at that time back in 1998 by Bob Meyrowitz, and they co promoted the event with the IVC’s Sergio Batarelli. I remember as Vanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort entered the ring, turning to Sergio (I had been a judge at several of his IVC events and knew him well) and asking if we had enough security as the place went wild.
He smiled and said, we are about to find out. Yikes!
Main thing is this there is talk about the UFC returning to Brazil, specifically to do massive venues. But let’s remember they haven’t been there for more than 10 years.
They will likely find the economy in Brazil lacking a bit, they will likely not bring home what they thought. Just a hunch. It won’t be 12 years before they go back, but it won’t be that fast either. It is simply not an easy place to do business.
It makes much more sense to return to England and Germany and continue their strategy of conquering the European market than going back to Brazil.
The only real difference is the talent level of the fighters. In England, there are several guys, and if you judge by boxing standards, the fans will support their guys to the hilt. In Germany, the talent pool is weaker, though the fans will be supportive there as well.
In Brazil the talent pool is deep as the Marianas trenches. Though running periodic big shows in Brazil is a good idea, the UFC should definitely explore the idea of running a startup show there, something where they can mine the talent without having to run major shows. Finding the next Vanderlei Silva will be easy, God knows the old one is burnt out.