Cobrinha: “To be able to demand bigger purses we have to start somewhere”

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GRACIEMAG.com heard Rafael Mendes’s version on the no-time limit match to the finish that a group of investors would like to make for October, against his biggest rival.

Now it’s time for his would-be opponent to reveal his thoughts on the bout. Ladies and gentleman, four-time world champion Rubens Charles Maciel, as known as Cobrinha. The ace from Alliance also said he will fight next September in Canada. Check it out!

Cobrinha, in a pic by Alicia Anthony.

What do you think can be done to make the match everyone wants to see come to fruition?

First off, I’d like to thank Bray (Deavours) for his initiative in trying to put together an event like this one, and may he continue to contribute to our sport. I’d also like to thank GRACIEMAG.com for the backing and desire to make this model of match prosper, if just because everyone likes to see matches ending by submission. I’d also like to thank all the people who in some way or another gave their opinions. I believe that only in this way will we manage to improve our sport.

I still feel 10 thousand dollars is a good purse for this type of match. And, of course, if they pay me more it’ll be even better. But that’s not realistic in the Jiu-Jitsu world yet. For us to be able to demand bigger purses we have to make our contribution, or in other words, we have to start somewhere, otherwise we’re not going to be able to make this sport a professional one. I’m certain that no one is going to pay huge sums of money for a sport that still has so much to grow. I hope one day someone will be able to make a lot of money making matches, but we clearly have to start somewhere so that we may have such progress.

Something else I feel is important to mention is that it is obvious seminars are where we make most of our money. But we have to remember that this match would be a single event on a single day. That it requires training and dedication is true, but it’s no different from other events like the ADCC, the World Pro or the Worlds itself. What I have to say is that it is a new format, one that is worth investing in and is worth it for the experience. I don’t feel you can compare an event of this sort with the amount earned in a seminar, as it is a new way, or better yet, a new possibility for Jiu-Jitsu fighters to bring in an income. If no one is up to the task, it won’t flourish nor yield heftier purses down the road. You too make a good part of your income teaching seminars.

Do you feel the purse could improve?

For sure seminars help a lot. I have no complaints about how much I make with seminars, since I’ve had a lot of work thanks to the work that I and team Alliance have been doing for some time. As I mentioned before, I don’t feel you can compare one with the other. Seminars are part of my broader project of spreading knowledge. Match making is part of the realm of entertainment, and it could become another source of income for Jiu-Jitsu fighters. But it will always be different from a seminar. I believe comparing such events with a seminar is more or less like comparing what you make teaching class in an academy with seminars… You can’t, they’re completely different.

It would be great if they improve the purse, like I said before. But I’d fight either way. It’s not because it is against Rafael that I agreed to it, but because I like challenges, my life is a challenge. When the promoters sent me the email, I said I’d fight, that I had no problem at all with it, but on one condition: that they made it clear that I was not challenging anybody. I had no choice in the matter, as they gave me the name Rafael right off the bat. So I asked them why. They told me it would be an interesting match to see in this model.

I do understand that the organizers were open to counter-offers and to negotiating the purse. Like I said before, someone has to start this format, and I don’t feel it helps any to push the issue demanding exorbitant fees. It’s the start of a format. Is it beginning with more modest sums? Yes, it’s true, but it foreshadows the future success of this format, and the fact of the matter is that participating in the first event of this kind means being part of the sport’s history.

To me participating in ideas that can change the perspectives for progress and spreading Jiu-Jitsu is really important, and that weighed a lot in my decision to have accepted fighting in this event. There’s also the fact that I really like competing (laughs).

What’s your next commitment? Any tournament on the horizon?

I’ve got a full agenda, but when I found out there was a chance of this match happening, I called some people I had appointments with, but there was no problem, they simply supported me. You know, who wouldn’t want to see a match in such a format? Even I would (laughs).

And the willingness of these people to release me from my commitments further reinforces my belief that this format could, in a very short time, change Jiu-Jitsu’s panorama. If the match doesn’t end up happening, I’m going to return my focus to my seminars. I also received another invite, for a supermatch September in Canada. I couldn’t say no. As I like challenges, I told them my asking price right away and they agreed to it, so I’m in. The match will take place September 18 in Canada.

Did anything Rafael Mendes said bother you?

No, quite the contrary. I feel some of the statements he made were even covered in reason, such as his declaring himself number 1, since he just won the world championship beating someone who had won it four times in a row. And I didn’t even feel I was number 1 in the sport. To me I was the year’s champion. It’s hard to be number 1 in a sport like Jiu-Jitsu, that’s divided up into weight groups. You would have to be the unquestionable best, and, in my opinion, the only one who has earned such accolades is Roger Gracie, who is praised both by his friends and opponents, and by those interested in the sport.

Beyond that, I believe that for you to feel you are number 1 you have to defend your title at least once, and even so there’s no way to say you are number 1, especially in this sport where every day new talent is coming up.

It’s important that I emphasize I have nothing against Rafael. Of course there is a rivalry between us on the mat, but that’s normal among competitors. I don’t like making excuses when I lose. Nothing of the sort, he won and is to be congratulated.

How about your retirement? Postponed?

I had announced I would stop competing this year, but I can already tell I won’t be able to stop so soon (laughs). That offer made me really glad because there are people who haven’t forgotten what I’ve done in the sport. That makes me happy.

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There are 20 comments for this article
  1. James Peterson at 3:11 pm

    Cobrinha seems to be very intelligent, a real gentleman and a great ambassador for the sport of jiu-jitsu. I agree that the sport has to start somewhere toward the goal of becoming professional and am glad to hear that he is willing to do what it takes to initiate that. Good luck Cobrinha.

  2. Rich Giambra at 5:20 pm

    Well said! Cobrinha is a true ambassador for BJJ. World Class talent with exceptional humility and character! Now that Inspires!!!!!!!!

  3. Pedro Torres at 5:59 pm

    “I didn’t even feel I was number 1 in the sport. To me I was the year’s champion”. That shows one of the many difference of both individuals.

    Matthew 23:12 But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted.

  4. Ruben Paredes at 9:37 pm

    Impeccable wording by Cobrinha, never making any assumptions to express what he truly wants a challenge. Cobrinha carries himself with the ut-most respect under any circumstance avoiding self judgement, self abuse and regret. Avoiding sadness and drama and not letting the projection of others dictacte his response, well said “COBRINHA”. We truly support you ALLIANCE Hayward Ca.

  5. Greg at 12:16 am

    I say Cobrinah wins by default, he seems to get more of the big picture and what this could do for the sport in the long run. Its the king of supermatches.
    It could be just the first of many to come.

    We might have a new world champion, but I for one miss the old one.. at least the old world champ had balls

  6. Pingback: Rafa Wants a Bigger Purse.... - Page 14 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums
  7. romeo at 11:24 am

    It’s obvious Cobrinha gets the “pay it forward” concept and he understands this will be good for his business(seminars). Cobrinha understands business. Thank you Cobrinha.

  8. Andrew at 5:19 pm

    Do it without Mendes then. Cobrinha to the finish with Leozinho, Rani Rahya or JT Torres etc…

    Lots of great matchups for this type of match.

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