Just wanted to give my quick views on the UFC Rio weigh-in that happened yesterday. I had first missed the weigh-ins and only got the very end with Okami, but after I’ve read a few negative comments regarding the foreign reception to the weigh-ins, I searched out to see if I could find the full video to see what the fuss was about. I finally got a hold of a pirated version on Youtube, and I can understand why some of the negative comments were made. I hesitated to write something about it at first, given that I don’t want to jump to defend everything Brazilian, but I do want to take some time off to give you some insight into our culture a bit, if you’re interested.
First, I have always disliked boos in the UFC in regards to all fighters, so on that front I’m in agreement with most who were disgusted with the boos received by foreign fighters yesterday during the weigh-ins. But, I am not sure most of the people who attended the weigh-ins were long time supporters of MMA. Please keep in mind that, even though Brazil has a long history with Vale Tudo and has a huge population of fighters in MMA, the popularization of MMA is only now taking effect in Brazil. I don’t think most Brazilians present at the weigh-ins were at all familiar with all fighters present, therefore they resulted to the natural instinct of supporting nationality lines, giving support to their countrymen while dissing the opposition. The US has much more knowledge within their fanbase in MMA in contrast to Brazil, but boos are a normal thing anywhere MMA is present (except Japan).
As far as the chants though, I’m not one who dislikes the ‘USA’ chants in the US, to be honest. I think there’s nothing wrong with supporting your fighter. The chants Brazilians were giving yesterday was a call to war; ‘uh, vai morrer’ or ‘ooh, gonna die’ is very, very common in Brazilian sports, especially in football. It’s basically saying the other team, or in this case, fighters, will get smashed by their opposition. It’s not intended to be taken literally, obviously, and if I was among the audience present, it’s more than likely I’d have been chanting along with my countrymen.
At the end of the day, this comes down to culture, yes, we do get rowdy. Expect chants this Saturday night, maybe they’ll even chant “eu, sou brasileiro, com muito orgulho, com muito amor” or “I, am Brazilian, with much pride, with much love”. Regardless, it will be one noisy environment, something Brazilian fighters many times feel in their skins while fighting abroad, let's see how the foreign fighters will fair under the same conditions.
Welcome to Brazil :p