UFC parts ways with Eike Batista’s company, opens own office in Brazil

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

UFC has big plans for Brazil in 2014, and that include increasing their staff in the country.

Right after UFC’s historical return to Brazil in 2011, Brazilian business magnate Eike Batista saw an opportunity to make money with mixed martial arts and purchased Brasil 1, the company that helped the UFC promote the UFC 134 fight card in Rio de Janeiro. Two years later, the partnership is over.

"Our partnership with IMX was really important for UFC’s sucess and the growth of our activities in Brazil," UFC’s managing director Grace Tourinho announced Thursday. "Today, thinking strategically, it makes sense that we have a local team dedicated to do our business to help (the UFC) to grow."

Batista, chairman of Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group, own several companies in the country, but his businesses aren't doing that well anymore.

According to Forbes, Batista was one of world’s top 10 richest men in early 2012 when his companies were worth $30.0 billion, mostly with mining and oil and gas exploration. However, his fortune was down to $200 million in less than two years.

IMX was one of Batista’s most profitable companies, but they won’t continue working with the UFC in 2014.

"We’re proud we were part of the organization of the UFC events in Brazil, contributing to make the sport more popular and increazing UFC’s brand in the country," IMX’s CEO Alan Adler said. "With UFC’s office in Brazil and their own team to organize the events, it’s natural that companies will move on and business partnerships come to an end after a positive cycle."

UFC’s first event in Brazil takes place in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, on Feb. 15, and is headlined by Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi.

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