The first visit of the UFC to Rio de Janeiro was a huge success, outselling tickets within 74 minutes of when they were available. During the Press Conference in Rio for the return of the UFC to the Marvelous City, Dana White made it clear for fans to “hurry up and buy tickets” if they wanted to go to its second edition. Even though the UFC kept the same prices for its return to Rio, it appears fans didn’t take White’s advice, as tickets for two sectors of the HSBC Arena are still available for purchase.
Many factors may have come to play at the failure to sell tickets to the second edition of UFC Rio, people are not only recovering from their end of the year expenses but also getting ready for Carnival, but the main factor came in the form of a comment made to Dana during the Rio Press Conference. The guys at Portal do Vale Tudo told Dana that they had done a poll in their community asking if people were happy with the card, and had an astonishing negative poll of 76% in displeasure with the card. The card lacks big names such as Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Shogun Rua. Although they do have a big name in Vitor Belfort, he appears not to be enough to sell tickets on his name alone since the memory of getting kicked in the face by Anderson is still fresh in many Brazilian minds. The general consensus around Brazilian forums appears to be the thinking that this card looks too similar to a regional card, and just placing a UFC banner on top of it is not enough to excite MMA fans as a whole. To add insult to injury, the UFC decided that, to appease to the US audience, by the time Aldo and Mendes enters the Octagon it will be around 3 AM Brazilian local time, kind of late for a sports event. I don’t blame the UFC for this decision, since most of their revenue comes in the way of selling PPV’s, but given that most of the American audience isn’t excited for this card either, perhaps they could have made this an FX card instead of a PPV and had it placed at a 7 PM US local time slot.
Hopefully the majority of the tickets will still be sold within the next couple of days and if not I hope the UFC doesn’t take this experience as a negative to do business in Brazil and instead learn from this to make future events here a success.