Rafael Mendes was an unhappy camper following the World Pro. The outcome of the under-65 kg final – a close match with Augusto Tanuinho –, however, seems to be what least bothers him at this moment. Although he still doesn’t agree with the judges’ decision, the fighter regrets his attitude, swears he holds no resentment towards any opponent of his, and promises to return stronger than ever.
Rafa addresses all this in a letter he sent GRACIEMAG.com, summarized below:
“First I’d like to say that I messed up in not going to the podium. There’s no excuse for that, but I feel one could only understand the indignation I felt at that moment if they feel it in the flesh.”
“I know how to lose, but I hate it, just like every other competitor out there hates it. I know I messed up in not fighting better, I shouldn’t have left an opening for what happened to happen. I’d like to make it clear I have nothing against my opponent, it wasn’t at him that I was upset. I would in fact like to congratulate him on the final. He did indeed fight well, despite everything. Congratulations.”
“I apologize to the people who keep up with me and like me. If I upset you, it really was not my intention; I should have gone to the podium despite everything. Once the ref has raised the opponent’s arm, there is no return.”
“I know this will make me into a much better athlete, that I promise you. I’ll train a thousand times more to get the finish in all my matches, I’ll never again leave it to chance, never again will I let an outsider determine my results. I’ll be better – If I dedicated a lot of myself before, I’ll dedicate even more now. I had the wrong attitude, I got carried away by my feelings, and for that I am sorry.”
“I’d also like to thank Renzo Gracie for the great words he shared with me, for being the person he is. Instead of “throwing rocks from the sidelines” he helped me out and taught me with words. Thank you, teacher! If anyone should ask what else made me happy last weekend, I’d say I remember every word Sheikh Tahnoon shared with me after my fight. He told me: ‘Rafa, you are one of the best fighters I’ve ever seen; train like never before so you won’t let anyone else determine your results for you.’ And that’s what I’m going to do.”