Exclusive: Sponsors want to back Cobrinha versus Rafael Mendes to the finish

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Cobrinha on top of Rafa, as captured by Regis Chen

Due to the initiative of a group of American sponsors, fans of good Jiu-Jitsu are about to be treated to a dream match: a bout between featherweights Rafael Mendes and Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” with no time limit or points, ending when one of the two gets the finish.

According to the initial proposal by the sponsors, who are situated in Atlanta but are in no way linked to the Alliance academy where Cobrinha teaches in the state of Georgia, the rules are straightforward: it is to be a gi Jiu-Jitsu match where the one to get the submission wins. The winner takes home a 10-thousand-dollar purse.

The investors are still in the negotiating stage with Rafael, the current world champion, and Cobrinha, four-time world champion (2006/07/08/09) and runner-up in 2010. So as not to hinder the negotiations process, the sponsors requested GRACIEMAG.com keep them anonymous, for now.

“We’re really excited about this idea. Our group of investors is actually a small group of big Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts,” says their spokesman, a brown belt linked to Renzo Gracie academy.

“Mendes vs Cobrinha is a stellar matchup set apart by one of the most interesting rivalries modern Jiu-Jitsu has ever seen, and we feel a match without a time limit or scoreboard could prompt them to have a more open, free-flowing and exciting bout than one on the clock and counting points – as well as it having great appeal for the fans. The idea is to in the future promote other matches of the same kind between major rivals. And what could be a better starting point to launch this concept than a matchup between two of the sport’s elite aces? Since Cobrinha is already contemplating retirement, we figured it could be our last and perhaps best chance to make this match,” explained the American sponsor.

So we asked him whether the 10-thousand-dollar purse going only to the winner is negotiable, as it would be a hard knock for the loser to come out empty-handed. After all, the honor of winning such a challenge would be enough for the fighters to go for the win at all costs.

“We realize a winner-takes-all purse is hard on the one who loses, but it’s another way we came by to accelerate the action, and keep the fighters aggressive the whole time. We believe this type of payout is further incentive, and it would be more lucrative for the champion,” opines the spokesman, who made it clear the challenge did not originate from either of the two fighters’ camps.

“I want to stress to both fighters that the idea is ours, it’s not a challenge issued by either of them, nor their academes. It’s for the good of Jiu-Jitsu, and I want to make that clear personally when I speak to the two athletes,” he says, believing in the success of the negotiations that, we repeat, are still in the early stages.

What about you, reader? Do you believe this is a valid initiative? Will a match in such a format work? And which other athletes do you dream of seeing in a time-limitless and pointless match? State your opinion below.

Check out Rafa and Cobrinha in Abu Dhabi in 2009:

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There are 31 comments for this article
  1. Vegard at 4:48 pm

    This is a great idea. I’d love to see matches like this. True super fights. The first paragraph of the story is misleading, though. This is a long way from happening.

  2. John Valentine at 5:26 pm

    I want to see Robert Drysdale vs Roger Gracie (NOGI). Drysdale was convinced he could beat Roger in Nogi and was really talking alot about facing him in ADCC2009 before Roger to pull out.

    But I think this is a good idea. Giving BJJ athletes the chance to make some money. Things like this will eventually lead to BJJ competitors having a good life just doing BJJ

  3. GJJ at 9:56 pm

    This sounds a little desperate. It seems as if Cobrinha can’t get over the FACT that there is a new dog in town. He lost on all three encounters…give it up! He can barely dominate Mendes, what makes you think he’ll be able to submit him?….out with the old (cobrinha) in with the new (mendes)

  4. rome at 12:41 am

    This shure makes for conversation. These ripples are already turning into waves all over the world.

    IN the end–fans will be the winners in witness of beautiful Jiujitsu!

  5. Ruben at 12:42 am

    No quiero favorecer a ninguno, los dos son amigos. Es obvio que pertenezco Alliance, sin juzgar el estilo de Cobrinha es ataque y finalizar, Rafa juega el 50/50, sin limite de tiempo hasta la pregunta es necia Cobrinha.

  6. Jake Huffman at 11:27 am

    I think this is a great idea, the idea of rafa mendes is a normal 10 minute match would be 50/50 guard which to me is a game of advantages. Take that out of the equation no telling what could happen.

  7. Vinicius at 1:06 pm

    i think rafael will beat cobrinha, because he’s on the top now and who’s in the top always is prepared for a challenge ! he will be on the top for a long, longe time ! they fought in fights of 10 minutes in IBJJF and they had a fight of 40 minutes in ADCC finals and rafa beated cobrinha in this two opportunities, i’m sure he’ll do it again !

  8. keyser at 3:27 pm

    Good initiative…but it is exactly what the Gracie Jiu Jitsu is from the beginning…a fight with no time limit, no points, just real and true jiu jitsu!

    It makes me laugh (sarcasm) now because 10 years ago a lot of people (not only from the MA community but also the BJJ community) will say that this rule is no good, and so forth…

    Now, we’re about to see matches like this, hahaha!

    Anyway…again, this is a good initiative! You have my support!


  9. shelia at 4:13 pm

    It’s about time!!! The 50/50 is nothing more than stalling. World class athletes can and should do better. Using such tactics just shows ones inability to out maneuver ones opponent. This match will be a true test of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills.

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