When the Pan became a tattoo

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Chico Melo getting his back tattooed...

Those who watched Brazilian blockbuster “Elite Squad 2” may have missed it, but gang leader “Qualé”, who was brutally burned to death early in the movie, featured on the cover of GRACIEMAG #2, performing an intricate maneuver at the second-ever Pan event, in California.

Chico Melo, who at the time was 110 lbs lighter, was the first Pan champion emblazoned on a GRACIEMAG cover.

The Nova União fighter was still a purple belt, but the photo of him carrying out a crucifix-omoplata was considered the best of the batch by our photography editors, which yielded him the most coveted page in Jiu-Jitsu.

Although the scene captured was a preliminary match, Chico went on to tear through the purple belt middleweight division, defeating future two-time absolute black belt world champion Rodrigo Comprido in the final.

Did the achievement mark the life of the now actor?

All that needs to be said is that years later the champion tattooed the scene on his back, so that he and a reminder of the title and the cover would never part ways.

... the cover of GRACIEMAG number 2....

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And don’t miss coverage of the event here and on the GRACIEMAG at the Pan Blog.

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... and the final result. Photos: Personal archive.

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