Dana White, Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen in Rio for special announcement
Plenty of speculation has surrounded the expected UFC 147 event in recent weeks. On Tuesday, UFC president Dana White should provide a few answers at a special press conference in Rio de Janeiro. You can watch that press conference live at HeavyMMA starting at 11 a.m. Eastern.
White will be joined by main event fighters Anderson Silva, the middleweight champion, and Chael Sonnen, the top contender. The two are signed to fight June 23 at UFC 147, which was expected to take place at the Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange soccer stadium in Rio. White’s hope was to have as many as 80,000 fans at the show, making it the biggest UFC show in history.
But due to a United Nations conference happening in Rio the same week as the fight card, city officials apparently haven’t signed off on the UFC coming to town at the same time. And White’s concern is that many hotels are already booked because of the United Nations event. Rumors started flying that Silva-Sonnen II would move to Las Vegas to main event UFC 148 on July 7, with the co-main event of Wanderlei Silva-Vitor Belfort staying in Rio to headline – but on a smaller show at HSBC Arena.
Saturday in Atlanta, White said there indeed were issues going on in Brazil, but that he planned to have them all worked out prior to Tuesday’s announcement.
“There’s stuff going on in Brazil, and I’m working on it,” White told a small group of reporters at Philips Arena in Atlanta following Saturday’s UFC 145 post-fight press conference. “I’m working on it still at this minute. That fight needs to be done the right way. We’re not going to half-ass that thing and say, ‘Oh, let’s go over to this arena over here.’ It’s going to be a big fight. We tried to move this thing all around. And this is a big fight. This isn’t one of our regular (fights). It became an issue when the people who were running the (United Nations) conference went to the mayor and said, ‘You can’t do this.’ They came to us. The mayor was trying to keep it, and the whole thing fell apart. We went after the staging that U2 used for their concert, we had guys fly down there five or six times doing flight surveys, we had the (stadium) mapped out and ready to go. If it’s not a stadium show, then it’s not happening down there. We’ll rebuild the card and do something else.”
But the speculation all likely ends Tuesday in Rio. Watch the announcement through the streaming video player below.