The future champions at heavyweight fighter Pedro Rizzo’s charity project played host to some illustrious visitors on Wednesday the 18th. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and superstar Rodrigo Minotauro met the young participants at the Usina dos Campeões (Champions Factory) project, the brainchild of Rizzo in partnership with Refinaria de Manguinhos.
“I was truly touched by Pedro’s project; he is to be congratulated,” said Anderson Silva in praise. “The kids all came over to hug me and it made me feel really happy. Us athletes should feel obligated to support such initiatives. Again, congratulations to Pedro and the board of directors at Refinaria de Manguinhos.”
Inspired by judoka Flávio Canto’s Instituto Reação, the project benefits 23 communities in the Manguinhos region of Rio de Janeiro. Muay Thai, judo, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling and capoeira classes are all offered – all overseen by Pedro Rizzo. All 500 berths in the project were filled up in just three days, but soon more spots will be provided.
“I was blown away by the scale of the effort when I got here,” said Rodrigo Minotauro. “I met a lot of people with great intentions and great projects to do with fighting, but this initiative here will surely yield huge results for society and sport down the road.”
Anderson Silva and Rodrigo Minotauro will star at UFC Rio on August 27 in Rio de Janeiro city. “The Spider” will put his belt up for grabs against Japan’s Yushin Okami, while Minotauro will face the USA’s Brendan Schaub.