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UFC Goiania draws 3,500 fans, economy blamed

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18 months after more than 10,000 fans paid to see Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson in Goiania, Brazil, a mere 3,500 paid to see Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves. UFC officials blame the Brazilian economy.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Goiania featuring Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves drew approximately 3,500 fans a major decrease from the 10,565 who came to the same arena in 2014 to see Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson.

UFC officials blame the struggling Brazilian economy for the disparity.

"We know Brazil is going through an economic crisis," said UFC general manager in Brazil, Giovani Decker at the post-fight press conference.. "That reflects in all areas of the economy, so also reflects here in the events. On the other side, in terms of pay-per-view numbers on Combate, we're reaching historical numbers. If we didn't do good numbers today, MMA continues to do historical numbers in other sides. We're doing fine, thanks."

The Week has a quick and dirty explanation of economic conditions in Brazil, currently the UFC's #2 market.

"The economy has stagnated and is about to tip into its worst recession in 25 years. Inflation has soared to 8 percent, eating away people's paychecks, and widespread corruption has undermined the economy.

"Brazil was hit by a perfect storm of economic disasters. It is still a commodities-producing country, heavily dependent on exports of its crops and natural resources. In the past year, though, the economies of the countries that buy its goods, particularly China and Germany, have slowed, drying up demand. And the prices of its main exports have plummeted. The oil price plunge has hit Brazil hard, while sugar, coffee, and soybean prices are all down by as much as 33 percent. With government debt piling up, the currency, the Brazilian real, has lost a quarter of its value this year. Drought has produced an acute shortage of water — in São Paulo, some neighborhoods get running water just every other day — and since most of Brazil's energy is hydroelectric, that means an energy shortage and soaring electricity prices."

Decker also discussed the move of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 Finale which had been set to occur in Sao Paolo on June 27 but has been moved to Miami.

"We will do one less card with this event going from Sao Paulo to Miami," Decker revealed. "We had an issue on this card. Like I told you when I entered the UFC two months ago, we want better cards, but we couldn't get the fight the main event deserved. We moved this card to Miami, which has a big Brazilian and Cuban communities, but UFC Brazil will do the entire event. All sponsors from TUF Brazil will have the same rights as if it was here in Brazil."