On Wednesday December 15, the Ultimate Fighting Championship officially announced that the organization would be returning to Brazil for the first time since October of 1988. The event will take place on August 27, 2011 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

In making the announcement UFC president Dana White told Gracie Mag, “Today is a great day. I’m in Rio de Janeiro, where it all started, and I’m standing next to some of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world. UFC Rio will be great.”

The Gracie family, hailing from Brazil, is largely seen as the founding family of modern mixed martial arts. Perhaps the most famous member of the family, Royce Gracie, the winner of the first two UFC events, was on hand for the press conference announcing the event.

Gracie has not retired from competition and showed interest in competing at the event. "This return of UFC to Brazil touched me, made me feel the wish of coming back to the Octagon. Everything has being negotiated with Dana White. Let's wait,” said Gracie.

The UFC currently has 36 Brazilian fighters under contract and it is expected that many will compete on the card in their homeland. Three of the UFC’s current champions hail from Brazil, Anderson Silva (middleweight), Mauricio Rua (light heavyweight) and Jose Aldo (featherweight).

Dana White was honest when Yahoo asked him why the UFC decided to return to Brazil now after such a long absence. “Because of how big this is here, people were always asking me about Brazil and when it would happen and I always said it probably won't happen for a while because we weren't focused on it," the UFC president said. "But when they got the Olympics, I said, 'Now we're interested,' and we really began to look at Brazil. “

"The economy is doing extremely well down here. The fact that these guys got the Olympics, the World Cup and all these big events, it just made sense. The economy has really been kick-started and there are a lot of good things going on in Brazil."

Goldman Sachs recently predicted that Brazil’s economy would soon become one of the top five in the world.

With that type of future economic growth and a large fan base, expect to see more UFC events in Brazil in the future.