By now you've heard of the big change of venue that happened with UFC 147 as the Middleweight Championship bout was moved from a soccer stadium in Brazil to the fight capital of the world in Las Vegas, Nev.
So does it hurt or help either of the competitors to change? The simple answer is both. It both helps and hurts.
For Silva, it actually helps because fighting in front of your home fans can really amp up pressure. He's already going into this fight as a big favorite but the fact that he's fighting at home brings expectations to a whole other level. So in Vegas, he can relax and focus in on his training and on defending his title.
The only thing it hurts with Silva is his feelings. It would've meant a lot to once again fight in front of his people and would've been his chance to create a memorable moment, but that simply won't happen.
As for Sonnen, it helps tremendously because he doesn't have to worry about his life being in danger in the event that he wins (or defends, if you hear him say it) the Middleweight Championship.
It's no secret that the fans in Brazil can get very rowdy if the hometown guy or team doesn't win. Just this March before a match between Brazilian Soccer teams Corinthians and Palmeiras, two people were shot in a brawl among 1,000 people.
So if they're willing to shoot each other and riot, just think of what they would do if Sonnen walked out with the belt around his waist. It's also apparent that the UFC knows this because even though there are scheduling issues, UFC 147 will go on as planned in Brazil, just not with Silva vs. Sonnen on the card.
Who it hurts are the fans of Brazil and to a lesser extent, everybody else. It would've truly been a spectacle to see Brazil's biggest MMA star shine in his home country, and there's no doubt that waves of fans would have filled any stadium that the UFC put them in. However, that fight is not one they will get a chance to see up close and personal.
For us sitting at home or watching at a bar, either way we will be treated to a great fight. The atmosphere in Brazil would have been insane and would have made what's going to be a great fight into an amazing fight, so that brings down the match a notch. However, I think the security risk was more than the UFC could stomach and thus the fight was moved.
In Brazil, this fight would have had one of two lasting images. Either Silva would have been in the crowd celebrating with the pumped up Brazilian fans, or Sonnen would've run through the tunnel with security surrounding him, his newly won championship around his waist, and all sorts of bottles and trash being rained upon him.
We won't get that. But we will all be treated with one hell of a Mixed Martial Arts match.
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