mayoral candidates fight in the ring

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Politics is often rough and tumble in the Brazilian Amazon, but in one small city two mayoral candidates literally came to blows over the weekend during a bruising election campaign.

The incumbent mayor of Borba, a city of about 41,000 people upriver from Amazonas state capital Manaus, is known for appearing in political ads with boxing gloves on. So amid a long-standing feud with a former city councilor running for his position, Mayor Simão Peixoto challenged his opponent, Erineu da Silva, to a mixed martial arts match.

Silva, widely known by his nickname Mirico, accepted, and the two went blow to blow in an MMA style match on Saturday.

There were no knockout punches, but the judges deemed the mayor victorious. Hundreds of residents crowded around the octagonal ring in the local gymnasium to cheer on their candidate.

It was unclear if the results of the match will have any effect on the results of the election. In October, Mirico and Peixoto will go head to head at the ballot box.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by David Gregorio)