(things get slightly crazy about 0:32 in)
Brazil loves the UFC and the UFC loves Brazil. But every so often you get the feeling that the UFC also fears Brazil. That maybe Brazil is going to go and do something crazy like tear Chael Sonnen limb from limb or go on a murderous soccer-induced riot:
But while Brazilians specialize in playing a version of soccer known as “the beautiful game,” off-pitch clashes between fans can sometimes turn violent. So with many of the nation’s soccer clubs now supporting UFC athletes, is the promotion asking for trouble?
“It’s very delicate for us to talk about a sport in which there have been several deaths in the crowds,” Belfort said through an interpreter at Thursday’s UFC 142 pre-event press conference. “This is serious.”
“I think that we’d be foolish not to be evaluating it,” Zelaznik told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Having lived in the U.K., I understand how tribal the sport is, and there are so many religious overtones to these sports.
“I’ve been learning a little bit about the history of Brazilian soccer since I’ve been here. There’s such a deep passion, and the obvious concern is that you’ll get Jose Aldo’s Flamengo fans coming to support him. You’ll get guys from Vasco to come in and support Mendes, and the next thing you know we’ve got a fight in the crowd. Next thing you know, people are writing that the UFC is a violent sport, and it has nothing to do with the actual sport. So we’d be foolish not to evaluate that.”
“We have the best fans in the world,” Zelaznik said. “Every arena we go to talks about how great they are. The new arenas anticipate, ‘Oh, boy. Here come the cagefighting guys. I wonder what that’s going to be like.’ And then the crowds are great. That’s all part of what the UFC is, and if that goes wrong, that’s just like a tire blowout on a car. It could be really damaging. We’ve got to watch it and monitor it and make sure we don’t see those sort of tribal behaviors.
Chael tried to warn us about the dangers of Brazil’s savage piglet tribes but no one listened. I consider this a vindication of every racist thing he’s ever said about Brazil.