It may surprise you that ultra-heavyweight black belt Abraham Marte lives in a country that doesn’t have a well-developed BJJ scene. Despite being at most major tournaments and event opportunities, the man lives far from where any of them take place. From October to December of last year, Abraham traveled to three countries, competed in four events, missed out on an opportunity due to visa issues and welcomed the birth of his baby daughter.
I asked Abraham to describe his crazy travels during that time to see what each trip entails. The Dominican relies on many people wherever he goes, even to train and prepare for matches:
“Okay. So I traveled to New York and fought at the NY Pro [on October 25]. After that I stayed a week training at Marcelo Garcia’s, which is always awesome. Leandro Lo and Felipe Preguica happened to be in town so it was extra awesome. Then I flew to California for Masters Worlds, and did that tournament for the first time. (I’m actually turning 35 this year). I was able to pull off a double gold and got to fight one of my idols, Comprido in the division final.
After that I headed to Japan, where I trained a bit, taught class at a couple of spots and fought the Asian Open. After the tournament I stayed in Tokyo for like 3 weeks, and got to work with some of the best MMA fighters in Japan, as i was teaching at Yamamoto Sports Academy. Another awesome thing in Japan, other than the food, was that i met another one of my heroes, Master Yuki Nakai.
After Japan I went back home to Santo Domingo. The day I arrived I got a phone call from Costa Rica inviting me to an 8-man invitational no-gi tournament so two days later I went to Costa Rica and fought at the Shidokan event. I stayed a week training with Fernando Moya to start getting ready for my fight with Keenan at Polaris. Somewhere during this time I got staph, which kept getting worse. Moya traveled back to Dominican Republic with me to keep training. We trained for a couple of days until I had to stop because of the staph. I took care of it and took a two week break. Then on Christmas Eve two friends of mine came up from Brazil to help me train for Polaris. So Diogo Moreno and Gutenberg Pereira got here and spent the end of the year here helping me get ready for Polaris, and kicking my ass twice a day every day until January 8.
Unfortunately for reasons out of my control (my theory is the Charlie Hedbo massacre) my visa and passport did not get mailed back to me in time. Although my visa was issued on the 6, it didn’t arrive in time for me to be able to fly to the UK for the match with Keenan. I am now very sad but understand that everything happens for a reason, and I tried my hardest to make it. But I am also blessed to be able to spend time with my newborn daughter Cristina, whom was born on the 6 of January. So now im just soaking it all in. I decided not to do Europeans (I’ve never been able to do that one) and stay home with my family, and heal my body and get strong for Pans.”