In January 2005, Jiu-Jitsu star Royce Gracie and the gargantuan Akebono adorned the cover of GRACIEMAG.
That issue, Marcelo Garcia told stories from his life on the pages of FACE TO FACE, one of the sections drawing the most remarks to this day. The Alliance black belt spoke of his start at Fabio Gurgel’s academy, explained his physical conditioning work, detailed how he goes about pursuing victory (“I’m always keeping an eye out for the slightest mistake from my opponent, a detail that may arise late or early in the match…”) and other lessons.
In answering the very first question, though, Garcia remembered a curious story and, without meaning to, made a sort of prophecy… The text is as follows:
“Even after ADCC 2003 and the 2004 Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, they say your biggest celebration was after the 1999 Worlds, when you won the juvenile blue belt division. Is that so?
(Laughs) I was put on a firetruck and paraded around Formiga, the city where I was born in Minas. It was something folks did out of pure friendship. There was no point in saying I didn’t want to, that there was no need for it… Imagine me in a gi up there, medal around my neck and totally embarrassed. I was lucky that it only took five minutes to make it around the whole city. The good thing was that my parents were really proud. Now I can win any title there is, but I’ll never get on another firetruck. But thinking about it, it’s cool to imagine one day Wanderlei Silva arriving from Japan, the airport full of fans, a firetruck…”
In Wanderlei Silva’s stead, UFC heavyweight champion Junior Cigano. Rather than Japan during the days of Pride, the USA. The rest went just as Marcelino foresaw it.
It happened yesterday, when the UFC champion received a festive welcome from fans and the press in Salvador, Bahia, and paraded through the streets atop a firetruck and showing off his belt. One day earlier, the locals celebrated the arrival of the boxer Acelino Popó.
Accompanied by Coach Luiz Dórea, Cigano’s procession ended at the seat of state government, where he was received by governor Jaques Wagner. At UFC 146, on May 26, he handily put away Frank Mir by second-round knockout. Probably to applause from Marcelo Garcia, watching the UFC on TV.