Allow me to make an extremely obvious statement: Brazilian fans are some of the most passionate in the world. MMA fans got to see it first hand when the UFC went to Brazil this summer and the American fighters were showered with chants of "You're gonna die". The arena absolutely erupted when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira knocked out Brendan Schaub and the place was damn near deafening when Anderson Silva finished Yushin Okami in the second round. It was an atmosphere years in the making and one hopefully the UFC can repeat when they make their return in January.
While American fans were focusing on the Fox deal and how monumental it was for the UFC to be shown on network television, another deal was being made. The massive success that was UFC 134 was enough for Zuffa to seal a deal with Brazil's largest television station Globo. On the UFC on Fox media call, Junior dos Santos repeatedly mentioned that fighting on Globo was a dream come true. It mattered more for the young Brazilian to fight on Brazilian television than on Fox. It's a concept that it sometimes tough for Americans to wrap our heads around. Heck, if you look on this site we've been pushing the Fox deal while completely ignoring the Globo one.
Well for dos Santos it seems that dream and enthusiasm was not misplaced. With a reported 10 million of his countrymen tuning in for his fight against Cain Velasquez this past Saturday, Junior dos Santos is likely the newest star in Brazil. He captured the UFC Heavyweight title on national television and the rags to riches story was complete. It took Anderson Silva an entire UFC title run and a front kick to Vitor Belfort's face to break through in Brazil. For Dos Santos, it may have only taken 64 seconds.
The good news doesn't end there for Junior either. Along with 10 million of his countrymen seeing him capture UFC gold, it seems that he connected with fans on twitter as well. Between Saturday night and Sunday morning he added 20,000+ new followers. This number is massive and shows that people were impressed by his knockout and personality. I'll be honest and say that I was unsure how first time viewers would take to a grown man bawling his eyes out on television. It appears that they too enjoyed his genuine reaction to such a major accomplishment.
While Dana White was obviously disappointed in the fight immediately after the fact, now that the numbers are starting to come in, I'm sure he's happy the way things went down. The Brazilian market is wide open with multiple fighters breaking through. The ratings on Globo are obviously rock solid (better than those on Fox). And the champion is a lovable fighter who has real reactions to situations. Add the fact that Dos Santos is talented enough to hold onto the belt for a long time and the UFC finally has stability in the heavyweight division. This is what the end goal for Saturday was, to create a star and stability. They got both with one knockout punch.