The rematch between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chael Sonnen isn’t in jeopardy, but the date and location of the fight is.
UFC president Dana White on Saturday night revealed that UFC 147, planned for June 23 at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, may have to pull up roots and move due a United Nations conference descending upon the city at the same time.
The United Nations conference, officially announced in early April, is scheduled to focus on sustainable development. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend and participate in the conference during the three-day event, which overlaps the days leading up to UFC 147.
“We’re working on it, it’s still a work in progress,” said White following UFC on Fuel TV 2. “The problem down in Rio right now is they’re having a big United Nations convention down there, so there’s some stuff going on. We’re working through it trying to figure this whole thing out.”
Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, was recently a guest on Mauro Ranallo’s The MMA Show to give an update on the situation. Despite rumors swirling about possibly moving the Silva vs. Sonnen II bout to UFC 148, which takes place on July 7 in Las Vegas, a decision has yet to be made, at least as far as Soares knows.
“As of right now we have nothing confirmed (about a date and venue switch),” he told Ranallo. “Dana White says he’s trying to work out details in Brazil. A United Nations conference is going on the week of the fight. Originally it was in Sao Paulo so it wouldn’t affect it, but now that it’s in Rio they have to make the logistical adjustments.
“We don’t know if it will be moved. There’s a problem with getting enough hotels, and there’s possibly a problem with security. They’re trying to see if there’s hotels in the surrounding areas. They’re working out those details now and hopefully (we’ll know) by the end of this week, beginning of next week.”
It would be rather difficult at this late stage – if the details can’t be worked out to keep the event at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange, a huge soccer stadium in Rio – to move the event to another venue of a similar size. The venue they had originally targeted in Sao Paulo was already off limits for the date they wanted. That’s why they were intending to hold the event in Rio in the first place.
The UFC already had to reshuffle the deck once this year when logistics forced them to scrap a planned March date for Montreal. Crossing up with the United Nations conference could force their hand once again.
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