(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The UFC is having a banner year in Brazil. The debut Brazilian season of The Ultimate Fighter is doing great ratings on Brazil's biggest TV network. They've held two sell-out shows in Rio de Janeiro in the last 12 months and are booked to hold UFC 147 in a soccer stadium.
Unfortunately they are once again in danger of having to reschedule the event. Initially they wanted to hold UFC 147 featuring a middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in Sao Paulo but difficulties with noise ordinances scotched that plan. So they moved it to a soccer stadium in Rio despite having already worked that market twice and announced the event for June 23.
Now, according to UFC president Dana White, it appears that a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development might force a rescheduling of the event.
"The problem is, they don't like the idea of us coming the same time this United Nations convention is going on," White said at a press conference following UFC on Fuel TV 2 in Sweden. "The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up. And we don't think, we know that the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen fight is one of the biggest sporting events this year, in the world."
"I think it's a huge sporting event," he said. "I think people will come to Rio from all over the world. I think we're going to need hotel rooms. Hopefully we'll get this thing done the next few days, one way or the other."
UFC 147 will not only feature the Middleweight title fight it will also see the coaches of TUF Brazil, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, facing off in a rematch of their 1998 bout.
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The UFC is expecting to run their event at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, a soccer stadium which will likely hold around 55,000 people when reconfigured for MMA.
The UN conference is a three-day affair which takes place from June 20-22. The event's website does not estimate an attendance for the conference, saying it will draw "thousands," but does list 194 member nations. That conflicts greatly with the UFC's hope of taking over the city that week for Silva-Sonnen.
Just another illustration of the immortal maxim, "mo' money, mo' problems."
If there is a silver lining it's this: the June 23 date was the day after the June 22nd UFC on FX 4 event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hopefully the rescheduled UFC 147 will fit more easily into the schedule although they don't have too much leeway as UFC 148 featuring a bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber is expected to be booked in Las Vegas for July 7.