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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