The Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts promotion returns to the network January 21; ESPN3 will also cover the fights in Spanish-language
ESPN Deportes brings the next two seasons of Brazil’s Jungle Fight Championship to U.S. viewers beginning Saturday, January 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET. In addition, ESPN3 will offer Spanish-language coverage of each event, also starting this Saturday with live coverage at 6:00 p.m. ET. As Latin America’s biggest MMA promotion, Jungle Fight comes to its 36th edition after putting on a whopping 11 events in 2011. The 2012 calendar has confirmed one show per month, running throughout Brazil.
“We are very excited to showcase up-and-coming fighters from Brazil, the birthplace of MMA,” said Lino Garcia, general manager of ESPN Deportes. “Jungle Fight is one of the most well-known MMA promotions in Latin America, and this deal underscores our commitment to bring the most relevant content to our audience.”
The Brazilian promotion, launched in 2003 by former MMA and Jujitsu Champion Wallid Ismail from Manaus, Amazon, features some of the country’s best fighters. Renowned names, such as Erick Silva and Luri “Marajo” Alcantara, began their careers by winning Jungle Fight tournaments. Other names like UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, former UFC light-heavyweight king Lyoto Machida and former Strikeforce middleweight number one Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza also competed in Jungle Fight. Other participants include Fabricio Werdum, Paulo Thiago, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga.
‘’We are the largest exporters of MMA fighters in the continent,’’ said Wallid Ismail, president of Jungle Fight. “Jungle Fight Championship events have been held throughout Brazil to sold-out crowds and record-breaking pay-per-view audiences, and we are very pleased to be able to bring the action to U.S. fans.”
In addition to being the cradle of MMA for many popular fighters, Jungle Fight distinguishes itself for encouraging young fighters to get involved with MMA. Since 2011, Jungle Fight visits and organizes events in poor communities, such as Cidade de Deus and Mangueira. Jungle Fight Championship also donates a portion of its proceeds to promote education, protect the endangered Amazon rainforest and support social programs.
The championship kicks off its 2012 season with Brazil and Argentina competing for the belt: Kleber Orgulho from Brazil and Emiliano Sordi, the Argentine champion. Both men emerged from the semifinals after fighting at the highest level, marked by the debut of the small GP that took these two athletes to the final in the 93-kg weight category.