RIO DE JANEIRO -- Shooto Brazil announced a shocking man vs. woman fight for their 25th edition on Friday night in Rio de Janeiro. However, the fight was never expected to happen.
It all started on Wednesday afternoon, when the promotion announced on its official Facebook page that Emerson Falcao (0-1) and Juliana Velasquez (0-0) would meet inside the ring in a three-round bantamweight clash at Shooto Brazil 45.
Right after the announcement, MMA Fighting contacted Shooto officials, who confirmed the bout. Team Nogueira and Nova Uniao officials also said the match-up was set.
On Tuesday night, Falcao posted on his Facebook page that he has sustained an injury and wouldn’t be able to fight this year, but Nova Uniao leader and Shooto Brazil president Andre Pederneiras told MMA Fighting he would fight despite the injury.
It all seemed weird, and the suspicions were right.
Multiple sources close to the situation informed MMA Fighting on Wednesday that the fight wouldn’t happen, and it was just a way to promote Shooto Brazil’s support to "Lei Maria da Penha", a law created to stop violence against women in Brazil.
Andre Pederneiras, Nova Uniao and Team Nogueira officials declined to confirm the information when contacted by MMA Fighting on Wednesday, insisting that the MMA bout would really happen.
Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Confederation, the entity responsible for regulating the Shooto Brazil events, said they would only get more information on Shooto Brazil’s intentions to promote the fight before the weigh-ins on Thursday.
At 2 p.m. local time today at a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, the stage was set for the weigh-ins. Falcao and Velasquez were there, and stepped in the scale and faced off. Falcao could barely walk without limping because of his injury, but he insisted that he would fight.
"I was hired to fight, and I’m going there to fight," Falcao said. "My job is to train and fight. This is the first of the many man vs. woman fights that will come in the future. You’ll see. This is going to be huge. We’re here to shock the world."
"We’re going to fight," Velasquez said following the weigh-ins. "We’re professionals, and we’ll fight tomorrow."
Nobody seems worried with the possibility of any legal problems for falsely advertising an attraction, though.
"Man, if (Pederneiras), one of the most respected men in the MMA is telling you there will be a fight, you should believe him," Falcao said. "Don’t you think so? Don’t you agree with me?"
True, Pederneiras is one of the most respected men in the MMA world, but the MMA clash won’t happen.
Osiris Maia, member of the Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Confederation (CBMMA) overseeing the weigh-ins on Thursday, confirmed to MMA Fighting that the fight is not real.
"We can’t do something like that," Maia said. "(The promoter) can ask everything, even a MMA fight with three guys against one, but we obviously won’t allow it."
"This ‘fight’ has a social representation that is more important for the society than to the sport," he continued. "There’s no way a man should fight a woman. This is being done only to show the society the importance of ‘Lei Maria da Penha’. You can’t have a man beating a woman in a sport, so it shouldn’t happen anywhere. That’s what they want to show."