Daniel Cormier reacts to 2.5 million Brazilians missing out on UFC action over free Madonna concert in Rio

Daniel Cormier expressed surprise that more than a million people chose to attend Madonna's performance over UFC 301.

Daniel Cormier reacts to 2.5 million Brazilians missing out on UFC action over free Madonna concert in Rio

Daniel Cormier voiced his shock that many people chose to attend Madonna's concert over UFC 301 (via Imago/ CNN)

The world of mixed martial arts and pop culture collided in an unexpected fashion. This left Daniel Cormier, the former UFC double champion, equally bewildered and amused. A reported number between 1.6 million – 2.5 million Brazilians chose to attend a free Madonna concert in Rio de Janeiro. 

The Rio crowd opted for this instead of tuning in to witness the highly anticipated UFC 301 pay-per-view event in Rio. This card was centered around Brazilians, with the headliner featuring a Brazilian champion, Alexandre Pantoja, taking on Australian Steve Erceg. Cormier was surprised by this and gave his take on the matter.

Madonna has a concert here in Brazil. 2.5 million people were there… 2.5 million people chose to go there instead of coming here [at UFC 301]. I think those that didn’t come missed some great fights, some great Brazilians getting to perform on their home soil.
Daniel Cormier via Daniel Cormier YT

Cormier’s disappointment was palpable as he recounted the night’s highlights. This included Jose Aldo’s masterful return to the UFC. Michel Pereira’s exciting win as well as the controversial decision that saw Alexandre Pantoja retain his flyweight title. Brazilian fighters had a great night at UFC 301. However, many chose not to witness it.

Madonna is much more popular than the UFC is in Rio. People know Madonna and the allure of a free concert was probably much bigger than paying for UFC 301. For fight fans, Daniel Cormier‘s reaction highlighted the enduring appeal of mixed martial arts, even in the face of stiff competition from pop culture icons. Regarding combat sports, few events can match the raw excitement and drama of a high-stakes UFC pay-per-view.

Brazilian champion begs Brazilian fans to stay for his speech

The UFC 301 headliner in Rio de Janeiro featured a hard-fought battle between the champion and the challenger. However, the real drama unfolded after the final bell. Alexandre Pantoja secured a narrow victory over the relentless Steve Erceg. The Brazilian champion found himself in an unexpected predicament. Soon, he pleaded with his countrymen to stick around and hear his post-fight speech.

Alexandre Pantoja begs the UFC crowd to stay
Alexandre Pantoja begs the UFC crowd to stay (via YouTube)

As the judges’ scorecards were read, a mass exodus of fans began streaming towards the exits. Daniel Cormier had entered the octagon to interview Pantoja on his victory. Pantoja saw many fans leaving the arena without hearing his speech. This prompted a desperate Pantoja to intervene.

Hold on everyone, stay in the arena the champion is going to speak... Everyone please stay in here, I’m in here to fight the best in the world and this guy (Erceg) is one of them.
Alexandre Pantoja via UFC 301 octagon interview

It was a surreal sight as Brazil’s conquering hero, fresh off a grueling five-round war, pleaded with his people to stay in his moment of glory. This is not the first time  Brazilian fans have walked out on their own fighters. However, according to reports, people left early to avoid the massive traffic jams that could last for hours. 

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