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Zelaznik: UFC might not hold 13 events next year in Brazil

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

BARUERI, Brazil -- UFC president Dana White wants to hold 13 events in Brazil next year, but that’s maybe too far from reality.

White told the Brazilian media during the UFC 168 world tour in Rio de Janeiro that "Brazil is on fire, it's taking off", and that’s why they wanted to do so many events in the country on 2014. However, according to Marshall Zelaznik, UFC Managing Director of International Development, White regretted his own comments as soon as he returned to Las Vegas.

"I think it shows his passion and intense for Brazil," Zelaznik told the media after UFC Fight Night 29’s post-fight press conference in Barueri, Brazil. "I don’t know we’ll get 13 events here next year. I think it would be more like what we did this year. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less."

Brazil will host the soccer World Cup next year and Zelaznik believes the UFC would have problems if they host an event during that time, between June 12 and July 13.

"The problem is next year we have the World Cup and then we have the (presidential) elections, so makes it difficult," he said. "You all know the challenges we have with the venues. You know the challenges we have with the dates. So, we are planning a lot of events next year. Will we get 13? I don’t believe so. I think Dana is committed to this market, he loves the market here, so when came back to the office after he said ‘I know I’m in big trouble, I said 13’.

"We’ve been going back and forth whether to trying to do (an event during the World Cup)," he continued. "I think that right now the thing it not bringing the event during the World Cup. We’ll find out other events that we may do around that time that wouldn’t be fights. But the decision is not final. We’re still in the planning mode, but that it wouldn’t be the smartest thing for us to try holding an event during World Cup. This is a soccer-loving nation. It’s the biggest soccer event in the world. I’m planning to be here to watch soccer, not to put on an event."

The UFC is still looking at the cities that could host a UFC show next year in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Jaragua do Sul will host events, and Manaus could be on the list as well.

"We’re looking at Manaus," he said. "Manaus has always being on our list. It’s a big challenge because its location, it’s very expensive to trying to get an event to Manaus but there’s a lot of interest there. We would love to get to the Amazon and hold an event, but it’s yet to be determined.

"The problem with 13 events here is how many cities really can take 13 events," he continued. "Could you do events in 13 different cities? I don’t know. I mean, you gotta spread them out enough to do that. There’s an appetite here for fights, there are a number of great fighters. If we ever were committing to do 13 events here I have no doubts that the fans would turn out and we would find a way to deliver exciting events that would keep the brand growing and building."