It's Showtime Brazil takes place on this Saturday, November 10. The event marks the first foray into the Brazillian market by a big time kickboxing organization in quite some time. I'm going to take a look at the event as a whole and evaluate the potential of kickboxing in Brazil.
With the recent explosion in popularity of the UFC and MMA in Brazil, MMA seems like the cool thing to do at the moment in terms of becoming a fighter. The reality also is that there's just a lot more money in MMA than there would be in kickboxing, and one is hard pressed to be making a living by fighting kickboxing or Muay Thai domestically, as opposed to doing MMA. A Brazillian kickboxer or nak muay would have to do just that in order to get some international opportunities where the money is more plausible.
It's Showtime Brazil for the moment, introduces a new dynamic. On Saturday there will be a platform for aspiring Brazillian kickboxers to get their names out there not only in the international kickboxing world but also in Brazil, as the event will be shown live on Esporte Interativo and Band Sports. Notably, Bellator is also shown on Esporte Interativo and has drawn great ratings as of late, garnering as many as 2.89 million viewers for Bellator 61 on March 16. Bellator's use of Brazillian fighters has obviously helped those ratings. It's Showtime's broadcasted card on Saturday will feature six fights and six Brazillian fighters in a "Brazil against the world" format.
The Brazillian market right now seems ripe for the picking when it comes to combat sports. Kickboxing has been showcased on TV throughout this year and last year, as WGP has been the major domestic promotion, running one night tournaments, in addition to qualification tournaments for It's Showtime Brazil. WGP are the co-promoters of the event on Saturday and have been quite successful in Brazil with their promotion over the last few years. To put it into context, WGP drew a packed house at the same venue that It's Showtime is using this weekend, on the same night as Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen back in July.
The infrastructure in Brazil with WGP seems to be sturdy, and with It's Showtime heading there on Saturday and Glory going next year, I think there's definitely potential for kickboxing to do well. Brazil has fighters that can draw good crowds locally and they're routinely showcased on WGP cards on TV. Add in some of the Brazillians that are already fighting internationally like Anderson "Braddock" Silva and Jhonata Diniz for Glory along with Saulo Calavari for K-1 and the potential is there for Brazil to start producing more good kickboxers is there, along with the potential for the sport to grow in popularity.
The success of MMA can only help grow kickboxing in my opinion. Fighting sports in general just seem to be on the rise in Brazil. There also is the factor of a lot of kickboxers or nak muays going to MMA like Thiago Michel, Cosmo Alexandre, and Ewerton Teixeira, so hopefully the sport can grow in Brazil and retain some of its premier fighters. For the time being though, kickboxing seems to be enjoying a slow but steady growth in Brazil.
Click here for the full fight card of It's Showtime Brazil. The event will not be live streamed but will be live on TV channels around the world that normally broadcast It's Showtime, like Fight Network in Canada, for example.