You might know the name Paulo Thiago for his career in the UFC. Thiago has fought 12 times for the organization, putting together a 5-7 record since February of 2009. But Thiago has a day job in addition to his fighting career – he’s a police officer in Brazil’s elite BOPE force, which looks comparable to a SWAT team. And even though Thiago just fought on the UFC card in Sao Paulo this past weekend, he’ll be a member of the BOPE squad that is providing security for the World Cup.
According to MMA Fighting, this is the first time that Thiago is working a large event like the World Cup, and he’s hoping that things stay peaceful once the event kicks off. But given how ugly things have already gotten, I don’t think the protesters are simply going to stop raising hell and start demonstrating peacefully just because a UFC fighter is one of the members of security in front of them.
This is still pretty wild, though. Even though Thiago isn’t one of the UFC’s marquee fighters making more than $50,000 per fight, he’s still working a highly stressful, dangerous day job – and now, his work will be on center stage for the world to see. I think this helps show just how committed some Brazilian people are to this event – they’re putting themselves and a more visible career on the line for the safety of the event and the country’s citizens.