Sergio Batarelli and Marcelo Alonso chat on the set of “Face to Face.”
The seminal fight promotion which propelled the careers of Wanderlei Silva and many others is primed to return to Brazil after a 12-year absence.
This week, in an interview with Brazilian TV channel Combate’s “Face to Face” program, International Vale Tudo Championship (IVC) Founder Sergio Batarelli discussed plans to revive the organization he started in 1997.
“I was the first one to bring the UFC to Brazil, and since then, I’ve kept an excellent relationship with the UFC people,” explained Batarelli, 51, who was instrumental in arranging “Ultimate Brazil” in 1998. “They said the UFC needs a top event in Brazil to select fighters, like I used to do in the ‘90s. After talking with them, I got together a group of top sponsors, and the IVC will be back in the middle of the year with a new name, IVC MMA, and new rules.”
Along with the new moniker and as-yet-unannounced guidelines, IVC MMA will trade its vale tudo-era net-lined ring for a cage upon its return.
In 14 editions of IVC, Batarelli uncovered some of the most important fighters of the last generation, legends and titleholders in the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships.
“Besides launching names like ‘Pele’ [Jose Landi-Jons], Wanderlei, Johil de Oliveira, Pedro Rizzo, Mark Kerr and many others, IVC was the first Brazilian event that foreigners wanted to take part in. They knew it would be a shortcut to Japan and the U.S.A. Chuck Liddell, Kerr and Branden Lee Hinkle are good examples of that,” said Batarelli, who intends to continue featuring Brazil-U.S. confrontations as a staple of the show.
During his 30-minute talk with “Face to Face,” Batarelli also recalled his days as a kickboxing champion and discussed his Brazilian Confederation of Vale Tudo, also founded in 1997, which he believes could be an excellent solution for the lack of athletic commissions in Brazil.