Rizzo takes martial arts to 500 children

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Rizzo with Anderson nos treinos abertos do UFC. Foto: Carlos Ozório.

Pedro Rizzo will be taking what he likes and knows best to those who perhaps would never have the opportunity. In a conversation with GRACIEMAG.com the fighter comments on his latest innovative project, in Rio de Janeiro.

How did this opportunity come about?

It’s a benefit project I’m doing in conjunction with Manguinhos Refinery called Usina de Campeõs (“Champion’s Factory,” loosely translated) and operates in Usina da Cidadania, a highly decorated effort they started ten years ago. I always dreamed of doing something like this. We got in touch earlier and now it went through. The idea is to provide new opportunities by way of the martial arts – something other athletes are doing, like UFC champions José Aldo and Anderson Silva. We have Jiu-Jitsu, muay thai, wrestling, and judo. The first three make up the base of MMA. Now judo is the martial art that earned Brazil the most medals at the Olympics and at competitions of the type. Among other things, it’s meant to guide the youths’ energy and produce a sense of responsibility and respect for others. The official inauguration is this Thursday at 1 pm. The address is Avenida Brasil 31/41 (Parti).

Is it true that demand has already exceeded expectations?

There’s been great demand. There are twenty-seven needy communities around here and in two days the sign-up ceiling had been reached. Five hundred are registered and 300 are on the waiting list. We’re even thinking of expanding the project. It’s for kids between 7 and 17 years of age, and class is held Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Changing subject, you have been appearing constantly as coach and corner to some of Brazilian MMA’s biggest names. Are you considering pursuing this direction.

I was already doing that on our team, but it was never that big. We all help each other. For example, I help Glover Teixeira and he helps me. Now, with Anderson Silva it became more evident. I feel it’s the natural route. We fight, gain experience, and then it becomes a reality. Any friend of mine who’d like some help, I’m there. But I still want to fight, at least for another three years or so. I’m 36 now and I want to fight till I’m 39 or 40. I still have a lot of fight left in me, but I feel being a trainer is a natural progression.

Have you got a fight coming up?

Nothing’s set in stone, but I should fight in June or July. But if something comes up first, I’m in. It will be very welcome, since it’s in the ring that I’m happiest.

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