Fertitta talks UFC Rio, Silva vs Henderson on FOX
By Guilherme Cruz
UFC owner Lorenzo Ferttita landed in Brazil and already got to work. After a trip to Manaus, where he met the governor, Fertitta went to Rio de Janeiro for the UFC Rio hype, and he spoke to TATAME about the expectations for the show, the possible return to Brazil in 2012, at Manaus, and a potential Anderson Silva vs Dan Henderson clash at UFC on FOX.
I heard you were at Manaus. How was the meeting there?
It was good. We’ve met with the governor of Manaus and they want us to do a fight there. It’s interesting for us, because Jose Aldo is from there, so it’s maybe an opportunity to bring him back to fight in front of his home town.
They said the show is already set for August 2012…
We’re talking to them, trying to find a day, maybe July or August.
How do you see the MMA market in Brazil? Do you already expected the tickets to sold out in 70 minutes?
No, we underestimated how popular it was here. If we could do it again, we would do it in a big soccer stadium, you know? But when we put the tickets on sale, we really didn’t know. But it’s been amazing the amount of support, it’s unbelievable.
What do you expect from this Saturday’s show?
I can’t wait… I’m really looking forward when Anderson Silva walks out for the fight – I think the arena it’s gonna explode. I think the Brazilian fans are very passionate, they’re gonna be loud, and I’m really looking forward feeling the Brazilian culture in the arena.
We spoke to Dana White, and he said he plans on doing a TUF Brazil in 2012. Are you really working on that?
We’re working on that, we’re really close to get something done. We think it’s gonna be very successful – a Brazilian Ultimate Fighter, all Brazilian fighters. One thing that is great about this country is that you have so many great fighters, finding talents is easy. There are some many good kids.
Do you think a TUF Brazil would do a good rating in as a TC show in the US?
I think it would, because one of the things about this sport is that people love to see fighters and good fights, so I do think the Americans would watch Brazilians in a Ultimate Fighter.
There was a report in a Brazilian newspaper saying that the UFC is planning 12 shows in Brazil on the next year. Is that possible, considering that the UFC did 24 shows all over the world last year?
I don’t think 12, maybe we’ll do 4 or 5 in Brazil. I think it’s more realistic.
Will Brazil host only pay-per-view card, or will we get some Fight Night shows?
Yes, we’ll do combinations of big pay-per-views, like we’re doing in Rio, as well as Fight Nights.
What do you expect for the future of the UFC in the US and all over the world?
First in the US, we just had a big announcement on FOX, the biggest sport network in the country, and we think that is gonna make this even more popular. On the same level as NFL. In other countries as Brazil and South America, we’re competing, we wanna be as big as soccer. That’s what we’re looking to do.
What do you expect from UFC on FOX’s first edition? Do you already have a main event set?
We don’t have a main event set yet, we’ll find out probably after this Saturday, these fights in Rio, then we’ll set a main event. But it’ll be something big. It’ll be a big fight.
We reported this Monday that Anderson Silva could put his middleweight title on the line against Dan Henderson, one he beats Yushin Okami…
I would love to do that. Anderson just needs a win.