HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: UFC Fighter Junior dos Santos speaks during the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos is a popular figure in Brazil and amongst many MMA fans around the world for his "nice guy" attitude, infectious smile, and ability to produce highlight-reel KOs in nearly every single UFC fight he's been in. Cigano's appeal will be used on an even larger scale, as he announced earlier this week he will be an ambassador for his home city of Salvador for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Tatame has the story:
Junior "Cigano" dos Santos announced on his Twitter account that he will be the ambassador of the city of Salvador, Bahia, at Fifa’s World Cup in 2014, which will take place in Brazil.
Dos Santos was raised in Salvador and still lives and trains there today. A memorable moment from Cigano was when he brought a 9-year-old boy and his family, all from Salvador, to the United States for the very first time as "honored guests" ahead of his first title defense against Frank Mir. Following his TKO of Mir the little boy went into the cage and was hoisted above Dos Santos' shoulders in victory. Dos Santos posted a confirmation picture of his role on instagram.
Cigano isn't the only combat sports fighter who is on the list. Former super-featherweight and lightweight boxing champion Acelino "Popo" Freitas is another ambassador for his native Salvador and is easily one of the greatest Brazilian boxers of all-time. As for the city of Salvador itself, it will host 4 group-stage games along with a round of 16 and quarterfinal match in soccer's biggest international tournament.