This morning UFC President Dana White officially announced that the promotion would return to Brazil for the first time since Ultimate Brazil took place in Sao Paulo on October 16, 1998. UFC RIO will take place on Aug, 27, 2011 at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena. In addition to Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, White was joined at the press conference by UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC champions Mauricio Rua (#1 Light Heavyweight), Anderson Silva (#1 Middleweight), Jose Aldo (#1 Featherweight), former UFC Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort (#4 Middleweight), and MMA pioneer Royce Gracie.
No fights were announced for the event, which is still nine months away, but White assured the gathered Brazilian press that the UFC would deliver a solid card. “Believe me when I tell you, we’re gonna bring you a good card and you will have your Brazilian favorites on the card,” he said. “I guarantee you.”
Like most developed nations around the globe, Brazil is currently in a recession but it pales in comparison to the recession that crippled the country’s economy in the 1980s and led to inflation rates that often hit 20% per week and led to the dissolution of the Brazilian currency in the early 1990s. Since then the country roared to life and Brazil is now the second-largest economy in the western hemisphere and continuing to grow at rapid pace. Considering modern MMA’s roots in Brazil and the large numbers of Brazilian fighters competing at the highest levels of the sport, it’s safe to assume that major markets like Rio, São Paulo, Salvador, Brasília, and Fortaleza will figure into the UFC’s long-term plans.