Four years since Carlson’s passing

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On February 1, 2006, the fight world lost Carlson Gracie. Hospitalized in Chicago, Illinois with kidney problems, his condition quickly developed into an irreversible and fatal general infection.

Carlson in one of his epic battles against Valdemar Santana. Photo: Publicity

Among the numerous greats from the past, Carlson Gracie deserves special mention. Not only for his achievements in the ring, but also because he is one of the most striking characters in MMA or Jiu-Jitsu, the protagonist of countless epic bouts. The master had a peculiar way of facing challenges and behaving. He had the uncanny ability to memorize words in the dictionary and play cards like few others could,  loved both cockfighting and French music. Always gesticulating a lot, talking loudly, coming up with theories, nicknames and expressions used to this day, like the famous ‘Creonte’, an adjective denoting enemies.

He didn’t subscribe to ceremony. If you didn’t agree with some result from a Jiu-Jitsu tournament, you’d just invade the opposing team’s dojo. Sometimes he would just substitute the ref

In the ring, Carlson made history. Among his most significant battles was his defeat of Valdemar Santana – Valdemar overcame his uncle Helio in 1956 – a battle revisited several times thereafter. As a coach, he put together an army of champions of such caliber as Wallid Ismail, Amaury Bitetti, Murilo Bustamante, Zé Mário Sperry, Ricardo De La Riva and Paulo Filho, among many others.

Check out Carlson in action against Valdemar Santana below:

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