Big in Brazil: UFC's Global Expansion Continues

May 16, 2013

Back in 2009, Ultimate Fighting Championship held 20 events, with only 3 of them being international (outside North America).


Four years later, the UFC are expected to meet the landmark of 35 events in 2013. Fight cards in Japan, United Kingdom, Sweden and Brazil are now a common sight for international fans, which only proves that this sport has gone global.


This weekend, Ultimate Fighting Championship will travel to the picturesque city of Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil, with the highly intriguing main event bout between Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort and former Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold.


UFC 137: Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami was the first UFC event in Brazil since 1998. Since then, the Ultimate Fighting Championship held 4 cards in Brazil, and have 3 more planned this year.


Interestingly enough, Jaraguá do Sul has a population of roughly 150,000. We’re not talking about Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sao Paolo or Belo Horizonte – all huge multi-million cities that already held UFC events. Yet, the UFC are coming to Jaraguá do Sul with as solid fight card.


That’s simply because Brazil has quickly developed in one of the biggest MMA markets on the planet. Bombastic ratings (60,000,000 people watching Silva vs. Belfort!), sold-out arenas, and dozens of top-tier Brazilian fighters in the UFC who drive more and more fans into this exciting sport.


No one can deny the deep connection between the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and Brazil. It all started with the Gracie family. The combat sports culture has deep roots in Brazil, which makes it such an exciting market for anyone involved with MMA, and especially the UFC.


UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold is aired LIVE on FX this Saturday, May 18. Feel free to follow the action on Twitter @VFDMarketing.