Brazil’s foremost commentator, Galvão, stoked for UFC in Rio

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In a recent interview by Clarissa Frajdenrajch for best-selling Brazilian newspaper “O Globo,” the most well-known sports commentator in the South American nation admitted that the UFC was an unexpected challenge for him at this juncture in his career. Galvão Bueno, 61, also went on to describe his preparations for MMA commentating, confessed that he has been watching the UFC ever since the days of Royce Gracie, and asserted that he will remain at the helm of the UFC on Globo television network, having begun with Junior Cigano’s November knockout of Cain Velasquez, even if he quits as a soccer commentator.

“Eight days before the fight, Luiz Fernando Lima [director of Globo’s sports department] called me up and asked what I thought of the idea of commentating a UFC,” recalls Galvão in the interview. “I said, ‘Let’s do it right now!’ I have a background in boxing commentating. I commentated on fights with Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Acelino Freitas. I always enjoyed it. They wanted the outset to be worthy of the UFC, and I was ready and willing. I never expected something new with such great repercussions to come up. Our chat came on a Friday. On Tuesday, I was officially notified. That very night I was already on that so-called Twitter trending topics. So I got cracking with my preparations.”

Galvão Bueno and Vitor Belfort on maiden Globo broadcast / Publicity photo

The commentator, who confessed that he only knows how to be an impassioned announcer who cheers publicly, admitted to having watched the very first UFC events.

“I was really into the sport when it first started back in 1993, but I was studying the subject. I was fortunate that there was a rerun of the UFC in Birmingham on Italian TV [Galvão lives in Monaco] and I got to see the fights. Thank God I don’t just have enemies but friends as well; they started sending me information, like a glossary of terms currently in use, so I could translate the expressions. I read everything on the way from Paris to São Paulo. I was stoked!” he admits in the interview, adding that he was overjoyed with the success of his induction into MMA commenting and was grateful to the old MMA fans for their affections.

“I hadn’t had a gig that I felt could generate such great expectations and repercussions since the great races of [Ayrton] Senna. I still enjoy taking on challenges. There’ll be another one in January, on the 14th. Imagine how packed the arena will be,” he says with enthusiasm.

“I felt the vibe as I entered the arena to commentate on the UFC, and the feeling was exactly the way I said it, the expression coming up spur of the moment, which was ‘gladiators of the third millennium.’ That’s just what they were! Of course gladiators used to be, for the most part, slaves who fought for survival. That’s not the case with the UFC, a sport with 32 rules. So it was spectacular. I even told Cigano that the fight should have lasted a bit longer because the audience was just starting to grow. The numbers were significant for that time slot. It rose 40% from the moment we hit the air. Cigano could have let it go on another three minutes,” quips Galvão.

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