“You can’t be the greatest no gi tournament if you don’t have all the greatest no gi people there…” Caio Terra on the ADCC
As has been the case at numerous tournaments over the last couple of years, it was Caio Terra of Gracie Fighter who took double gold honors on the day at the American Nationals this past weekend in Dominguez Hills, California, winning both his light featherweight and the absolute Gi Jiu-Jitsu divisions.
The bigger buzz about Caio, though, was not his double gold win, it was the question as to why he was at the American Nationals in the first place. With the ADCC going on over the same weekend in England, lots of fans and competitors alike expected the usual big names to be absent from this IBJJF tournament. However, when Caio showed up in the gymnasium, the crowd came alive asking, “Why is he here? Why isn’t he in England competing right now?”
Caio has won the last three consecutive No-Gi Worlds and a number of other tournaments and open class titles as well. Additionally, according to a couple of the public polls taken on the ADCC FB site, he was voted in as a fan favorite to compete in the 66 kilos group at the event. However, no invitation ever came to him, and Caio was left a little confused, if not completely disappointed and disillusioned by the outcome.
“To be honest, I lost a lot of respect for the ADCC,” Caio says solemnly, “Not because I wasn’t invited, but because they changed the weight classes rules but still invited the same people as before. Fifty percent of them didn’t have a chance to win. Why didn’t they pick people who had a chance? And I mean this for all weight classes, not just mine.”
He goes on to say, “You can’t be the greatest No-Gi tournament if you don’t have all the greatest No-Gi people there.” While Caio says in no way is he saying that he would have gone to England and won the tournament, he does say, “If you don’t think I had a chance, you must be crazy.”
Caio says he did not ask to be invited to the ADCC but then again, he didn’t think he had to ask. His record and involvement in Jiu-Jitsu speaks for itself. “I’ve done so much for Jiu-Jitsu,” he says.
His friend and Gracie Fighter teammate Samir Chantre, who also was not invited to the prestigious ADCC event, concurs, “It’s ridiculous,” he says, “It’s not just unfair that Caio wasn’t invited, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
So, Caio finished off the day at the American Nationals doing what he does best: winning tournaments. He fought two matches in his division, winning both on points. His final was against Milton Bastos of Paragon. Caio fought through his matches slowly and methodically, a drastic difference from his usual fighting style. Plagued with injuries the last few months, Caio still forged ahead and registered for the open class, regardless of his current state of health.
In the absolute, Caio had a bye in the first match and in his second, he submitted his opponent, Gustavo Carpio, with an armbar in less than 30 seconds. In the semis, he was supposed to face his teammate Osvaldo “Queixinho” Augusto, but Queixinho let Caio pass so he could go on to the finals.
“Queixinho teaches with me at my gym in San Jose,” Caio says, “He felt like I should go on because small guys usually don’t have the courage to compete at open class. We’ve been training with bigger guys and want to show that a smaller guy can win with the proper technique.”
Caio feels that since he has been competing in absolutes at many of the tournaments around the U.S., more small Jiu-Jitsu players have been following suit and jumping into the competition, which makes him very happy to see.
Caio faced Vitor Henrique in the absolute final. As Vitor had already rolled through a number of competitors with apparent ease and grace, he had an altogether different battle on his hands with Caio. As the two started the match, Caio began his slow and methodical pace with Vitor. He swept him and the two rolled to the yellow line. They went back to the middle of the mats and Vitor didn’t want to give Caio his grips. It was clear that Caio was annoyed as he began to shake his head at the situation.
When they began fighting again, Vitor went for a footlock. In return, Caio went for Vitor’s foot and was able to tap him out quickly, within about a minute and a half of the match. As Marcelo Ribeiro, IBJJF referee and Caio’s instructor through his blue and purple belts, stood by watching the match, he said, “Caio is just at a whole different level.”
Caio wants to thank everyone who came to the American Nationals to support him, his teammates and friends, especially Queixinho who let him pass, and his main sponsor, Dom Fight Gear, saying, “It’s been one more great tournament.”