Despite threat, Sao Paulo mayor won’t shut down UFC on FX 7

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Despite a government-ordered civil investigation into the city of Sao Paulo’s previously announced US$1.25 million sponsorship of Saturday’s UFC on FX 7 event, the fight card will go on as planned.

“Let’s be clear: There’s no chance that the event will be canceled,” said UFC Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik.

The city’s new mayor, Fernando Haddad, questioned his predecessor’s decision to dedicate more than 70 percent of Sao Paulo’s parks and recreation bureau’s annual budget for event funding to this weekend’s event.

A recent directive signed by Sao Paulo District Attorney Valter Foleto Santin called the sponsorship an “unnecessary, unjustified and excessive use of public resources” and recommended the cancellation of the event and a suspension of the financial commitment.

The sponsorship was brokered by the Brazilian-based sports and entertainment business IMX, with former Sao Paulo Mayor Gilberto Kassab, who in December signed the deal on his final day in office.

The district attorney has asked IMX to provide further details on the sponsorship agreement, which is similar to deals the promotion had previously with the city of Rio de Janeiro and is considered common practice for major sporting events in the country.

Zelaznik, who on Thursday revealed the company is planning as many as seven Brazilian events in 2013, doesn’t believe relationships are strained, said he supports the new mayor’s reported desire to explore the deal, and insisted the UFC will readily assist the city with any and all requests.

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