The strange saga of Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen’s feud has taken another twist. What very well could be the most anticipated rematch in MMA history now has another obstacle in its way, the United Nations.
The showdown, which UFC President Dana White thinks may be the biggest fight in the sports history, is scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 147 on June 23 at the Joao Havelange Stadium.
At the UFC on Fuel TV 2 press conference in Sweden on Saturday, however, White said the event may need to be rescheduled due to a United Nations Conference set to take place the same week in Rio. This has grown concern with Rio city officials and the UFC. White explained:
“The problem is, they don’t like the idea of us coming the same time this United Nations convention is going on. The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up. And we don’t think, we know that the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen fight is one of the biggest sporting events this year, in the world.”
If the UFC has to reschedule UFC 147 again, it will mark the second time doing so. The original date for the event was June 16 in San Paulo.
UFC 147 is being anticipated as what could be the biggest live gate for a UFC event ever. The Joao Havelange Stadium seats 47,000 for soccer games, but with added seats for an MMA event it could surpass the 55,000 UFC attendance record currently held by Toronto’s Rogers Center for UFC 129.
Hotel room occupancy for fans is another concern for White:
“I think it’s a huge sporting event. I think people will come to Rio from all over the world. I think we’re going to need hotel rooms. Hopefully we’ll get this thing done the next few days, one way or the other.”
If UFC 147 is to moved ahead one week to June 30, it will run seven days before UFC 148. Although UFC has had multiple televised events run during the same week, they have never scheduled back to back pay-per-views so close together.
Two pay-per-views within a seven day period could hurt the buy rate of both events. Moving the event forward a week early will strip allotted training time for the fighters.
It is a double-edged sword that may have to be decided on by UFC officials. Rumors from industry insiders have began circulating that the Silva-Sonnen fight may be brought back to the United States for UFC 148, which is scheduled for July 7 in Las Vegas.