RIO DE JANEIRO -- The story of Ronda Rousey’s impressive popularity in Brazil can be told with numbers.
Previously, it would have been impossible to imagine a non-Brazilian fighter being on par with the biggest Ultimate Fighting Championship stars in Brazil. Frankly, a foreigner matching or exceeding the popularity of Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort on Brazilian soil would be laughable.
But Rousey is proving exactly the opposite. According to audience numbers of the largest free-air television network in Brazil, Rede Globo, which broadcasted UFC 190 live, the fight between Rousey and Bethe Correia reached an average of 13 points. That share is twice the average for a typical Saturday night.
The 13-point average beats Belfort’s match with Chris Weidman (12 points) and fell short of Silva’s first bout with Chael Sonnen, which garnered a 19 point share. That contest is the most-watched UFC event in Brazilian television history.
Another good way to test the popularity of the Rousey phenomena is to just walk the streets of Brazil. No matter where you go, the people are talking about Ronda. As any celebrity in this country, she was also targeted by the gossip press, who circulated a rumor of an alleged affair between Ronda and Flavio Canto, who used to be her idol in Judo and today is a famous Rede Globo announcer and commentator.