The UFC returned to Brazil little more than a year ago, and already the South American country is quickly becoming the honey hole of mixed martial arts.
Consider that the recent UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar event in Rio de Janeiro drew a reported audience of 12 million households on Globo TV, according to Brazilian MMA news site Tatame.com.
That dwarfs the UFC’s best draws on television in the United States. Even the first UFC on Fox, which was a special event featuring the heavyweight championship between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, drew just 5.7 million viewers in comparison.
UFC 153’s 12 million households reportedly equates to more than 20 million viewers. UFC 147 in June reportedly drew more than 23 million viewers.
Even The Ultimate Fighter Brasil averaged in the neighborhood of 10 million viewers per episode, while its American counterpart has struggled to hit the 1 million mark during its current run.
In short, Brazil is a hotbed for the promotion. It only reinforces how important the global market is for the promotion, while its prospects have seemed to stagnate a bit as of late in the U.S.
The UFC intends to operate more events in Brazil in 2013, of course, but is also considering a localized “Fight Night” type series of smaller events in the country, much like it has bandied about a similar idea for Japan.
Canada is also one of the promotion’s greatest emerging markets, and India is quickly becoming a major focal point as well, both at the top of the list to receive international version of TUF.
So while things may have plateaued recently for the UFC in the U.S., the company’s focus on the global market has only just begun, and appears to provide ample opportunity for continued growth.
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