UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, right, meets with Amazonas governor Omar Aziz, left, to set up a UFC event in Manaus. Photo via Sherdog.
During his promotional tour for the upcoming UFC 134: "Silva vs. Okami" event going down this Sat., Aug. 27, 2011, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, UFC President Dana White has lamented his decision not to do a stadium show for the promotion's return to the country of the sports origin.
Tickets sold out in 74 minutes for the HSBC Arena, which is configured to hold 14,000 fans on fight night. However, according to White, the demand was as high as 350,000 people.
Sound like hyperbole?
Of course it does, but maybe it wasn't, at least if the UFC is to follow through with recent plans made to return to Brazil in 2012 to hold an event at the Convention Center of Manaus in Amazonas.
Known as the "Sambodromo," the gigantic outdoor venue has the capacity to hold up to and over 100,000 spectators.
At a recent press conference (via Sherdog), UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta spoke on bringing his company back to the region for another event:
"The opportunity to bring the UFC to Manaus and to the home of some of our great fighters makes us so excited. Our expectation is that Manaus will set a new attendance record, with 100,000 people watching the show."
Toronto who? Canada what?
The most attended show in UFC history to date was the landmark "St. Pierre vs. Shields" event held at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario back on April 29.
55,724 screaming Canadians filled the arena that night to make it the biggest show, literally, in the history of the UFC. To get an idea of how big the Convention Center of Manaus is, they could break that record by only filling just over half the venue. They would absolutely shatter the record if it's filled to capacity.
Fastest rising sport in the world? You bet 'cha.
Names already bandied about as potential participants in the event are Jose Aldo and Ronaldo Souza, who are both from the region and would undoubtedly be welcomed home as heros, no different than Georges St. Pierre in Toronto.
Manaus is the seventh largest city in Brazil with a population of roughly 1.8 million people. Think they could convince 100,000 of them to come out for some fisticuffs from some of the best martial artists in the world?