United Nations Conference in Rio Could Force UFC 147 to Change Date or Location

April 14, 2012

Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen at UFC 117
What we know for sure is that Anderson Silva will next defend his UFC middleweight title against Chael Sonnen at UFC 147.

What we don’t know right now, however, is where and when that fight will actually take place.

The news broke during the UFC on Fuel TV 2 post fight press conference that a recently scheduled conference of the United Nations set to land in Brazil from June 20 -22 could force the MMA promotion out of their scheduled June 23 date in Rio de Janeiro.

“We’re working on it, it’s still a work in progress. 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,” UFC president Dana White said about the mega event currently slated for Brazil.

The United Nations conference was officially announced in early April, scheduled to focus on sustainable development, and it’s expected to draw more than 135 vice presidents and prime ministers. In addition, more than 50,000 people are expected to attend and participate in the conference during the three-day event.

Titled the Rio +20, the conference will run for three days in late June which coincides perfectly for the dates the UFC would also be landing in Rio for UFC 147.

Beyond the logistical nightmare that city officials would have to deal with to accommodate both events taking place the same week, White points out that hotels could end up being one of the biggest problems they could have to overcome.

“Don’t know, we’re waiting to hear back. We’re trying to figure this whole thing out. The problem is that first of all they don’t like the idea of us coming at the same time as this United Nations convention is going on. The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up,” said White.

“We don’t think, we know, that the Chael Sonnen/Anderson Silva fight it’s one of the biggest sporting events this year in the world, so we need to make sure (there’s room) especially when you’re doing an 80,000-seat soccer stadium. There better be some hotel rooms.”

The hope for the UFC was to have this situation already handled prior to Saturday’s event in Sweden, but as of now there is still no plan in place and nothing set in stone.

“I expected to have it already,” White said about a resolution for the placement of UFC 147. “Hopefully, we’ll get this thing done within the next few days, one way or the other.”

The next major UFC event takes place in just a week’s time at UFC 145 in Atlanta, and White may be able to make an announcement at that time if final plans have been made.

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