A hefty fee and poor connection for internet in the rooms at Jurys Inn made the hotel lobby, where the internet is free, into a true constellation of Jiu-Jitsu stars on the eve of ADCC 2011.
A number of them loaf about on the seats and sofas around the lobby while their faces still betray starvation, fragility, despite the potential they are bound to display the next day, in the main arena of quaint Nottingham, a town few have had time, patience or energy to explore yet.
The stars of the supermatch, Ronado Jacaré and Bráulio Estima’s well-nourished faces clash with the famished semblances around them. Despite having slung insults at each other in the lead-up to their match, they cross paths and exchange a friendly embrace. “Look at the size of this creature, how rough will it be to sweep him?” Carcará asks the reporter. Jacaré smiles and distances himself, “This guy’s lying a lot, careful with him.”
The weigh-ins took place at 3pm GMT on Friday, and there were victims. Rani Yahya, one of the stars on the UFC roster, lost his battle with the scale and couldn’t drop from the 70kg he was weighing, having to make do with a “consolation prize” he’ll be competing one weight class up, at 77kg, or 170 pounds, according to England’s empirical system of measurement.
That’s the division of Marcelo Garcia, who hasn’t weighed that little in two years, ever since the 2009 ADCC. But unlike the others, Garcia didn’t suffer. He calmly shed his plaid shirt, pants, underwear… and nailed the weight limit right on the mark.
Alexandre Ribeiro too was cool as snow. What about the absolute, Xande? “I’ll think about that later. First come weigh-ins, when we have to worry about getting past these kids,” says the star of the under-99kg division.
Others were a wreck, almost incapable even of smiling. That was the case with Rubens Cobrinha, who made the 66kg weight limit ravaged by hunger. Tomorrow, in a new twist for the event, he will have to be at the very same weight when he steps onto the mat. But he’ll be in better cheer. Or even hungrier, since it’ll be for the only title missing from the four-time world champion’s mantel.
UFC star Rousimar Toquinho was another to suffer. With his mother in poor health back in Minas Gerais, Toquinho took three days in getting to England. And he showed up over weight, but despite the chatter circulating around the hotel, his coach, Murilo Bustamante, guarantees that by the next day he’ll be at weight. The organization made an exception for him, due to the double weigh-ins.
Now Bruno Frazatto, who tomorrow will face his teammate, current lighter weight divisional champion Rafael Mendes, right off the bat, was 1.5kg over. He had to do some sprints in the Capital Arena, where the weigh-ins were held and the championship will go off the next day, starting at 12 GMT, 8am in Brazil.
The hungry faces contrasted with that of Renzo Gracie, whose tanned face looked pleased to be at 85kg and not have to fight the scale this time around, to make weight for the all-idol supermatch with Zé Mario Sperry.
The Gracie took the chance to joke around with everyone in reach. “Gabi, there isn’t anyone left who can beat you. They can start mounting you and you’ll still win,” joked Renzo, who just arrived from Abu Dhabi but is running on all cylinders. “There’s no point, I’ll never weigh 60kg or be 1.6 meters tall; I have to compete the way I am,” said a ripped Gabrielle Garcia in response, the bulge of her biceps an awesome sight.
Gabi’s plight overshadowed the other competitors’ struggle with the scale. The day before flying out, she lost her adoptive brother, who suffered a heart attack at just 23 years of age. “Now all I want is to win, for everything I’m going through.”
Before the weigh-ins, the ADCC held a rules meeting that offered some interesting but somewhat confusing new changes, which aren’t certain to stick – it’ll depend on the referees, those necessary but never adored mediators. This year, for instance, if the competitors start swapping footlocks while in 50/50 guard, the first one to spin loses a point, according to the refereeing commission. Whether it ends up playing out in practice or not you’ll find out tomorrow, on GRACIEMAG.com and the GRACIEMAG at the ADCC Blog.